An intensive experience which brings together ambitious and experienced individuals interested in learning about business in Eastern Europe – showcasing investment opportunities, partnering up with specific talent, learning how local startup hubs operate, the Eastern Europe Market Discovery (EEMD) mission took part between 9-13 September 2019 in Kiev and Minsk. A good mix of up to 12 top-level ecosystem builders coming from Azerbaijan, the Netherlands, Ireland, Germany, Portugal, Romania, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia brought together ambitious and experienced individuals ready to discover the Eastern Europe startup ecosystem. Special credits to Dovilė Motuzaitė and Ricardo Silva for leading this mission on behalf of the Startup Lighthouse team.
EEMD was the best possible way to learn about 2 new ecosystems from the eyes of all their different stakeholders. Diogo Patão, Head of Incubation Lisbon Demium Startups
Ready for an insightful trip to our days in Kyiv and Minsk?
Day 1 – Getting familiar with the Ukrainian startup ecosystem
During the first intensive day, we received an insightful overview of the Ukrainian ecosystem from Iurii-Volodymyr Blavt (Civitta Ukraine). Then, we got to know the corporate innovation landscape and initiatives in Ukraine from Kirill Mazur (Center42 Innovation Agency) and Kirill Krivolap (Civitta Ukraine). We heard about a foreigner’s point of view on the Ukrainian ecosystem when trying to create a community in Ukraine from Mykyta Tsylyuryk (Lift99). Presentations and roundtable discussion about the initiatives to support the growth of the Ukrainian startup ecosystem from Valeriy Dobrovolski (Eō Business Incubator), Kirill Mazur (Center42 Innovation Agency), Pavlo Kartashov (Ukrainian National Startup Fund, created by Ministry of Finance of Ukraine), Anastasiia Kondratiuk (TechUkraine) took place.
- Discussed the Ukrainian startup ecosystem from the venture capital point of view with the help of Olga Afanasyeva (Ukrainian Venture Capital Association)
- Introduced to the Ukrainian Tech Ecosystem and the possibilities to raise capital in Ukraine by Andrew Sohoran (u.ventures) and Lena Mazhuha (Genesis Investments).
Finally, the team closed the day by attending a community event organized by Startup Wise Guys which hosted a fireside chat of 4 startup founders sharing their failure stories.
Day 2 – Getting to know Kyiv ecosystem and the Corporate Innovation Lighthouse conference Kyiv
On the second day of our mission we visited and got introduced to the UNIT.city – the first innovation park in Ukraine. We had the opportunity to meet with Max Yakover from RadarTech – the first Ukrainian corporate accelerator, while we were introduced to AgroHub – an organization supporting innovations in the Ukrainian agribusiness by Kirill Kirilovap (Civitta Ukraine). Afterwards, we visited the DTEK Innovation office and heard about how one of the top 3 tax-paying companies in Ukraine implements innovations in their broad field of work by Emanuele Volpe (DTEK).
In the end, we participated in the exclusive Corporate Innovations Lighthouse conference. The 12 participants of EEMD from all around Europe attended the Corporate Innovations Lighthouse conference – an exclusive conference on corporate innovations, which was attended by the key players in the Ukrainian corporate innovation ecosystem. The conference had 150 participants, from the biggest companies in Ukraine, who shared their experience in bringing innovations to their companies, as well as their efforts to foster the innovation and startup ecosystem in Ukraine. The participants of EEMD also shared their experience in innovations and implementation, both as speakers and panellists in discussions.
Day 3 – From Kyiv to Minsk and the introduction of the Belarusian ecosystem
The 3rd day of our mission – September 11th, together with the team of 12 ecosystem builders from around Europe, we moved to Minsk to get know the startup ecosystem of Belarus.
During the day, we were introduced to the innovation ecosystem in Belarus by Vitalina Sharovar (Civitta Belarus), who presented the first-ever report on the Belarus startup ecosystem and we visited the IT Academy Shag and got to learn how this company helps to grow the future startup founders who are currently 10 years old!
Day 4 – Getting familiar with the Minsk ecosystem
The next day, 12th of September, we visited IMAGURU Startup Hub – the most popular place to meet business professionals, startups and investors. Furthermore, IMAGURU established the first startup accelerator in Belarus. IMAGURU activities were presented by Jauhen Puhach. There, we got introduced to Demium Accelerator by the program director Elena Shkarubo and got to hear the pitches from the accelerator’s batch. We learned about the Decree No. 8 on digitalization of the economy of Belarus, which created favourable conditions for startups that are established in Belarus from the people who were developing the document first hand – Dmitry Matveyev (Aleinikov&Partners). Alexey Vorobei (Belarus Blockchain Association) gave us a presentation on the crypto-regulation in Belarus and the business opportunities in the field of crypto. In addition, together with Anna Pozniak of Bulba Ventures, we discussed the venture capital ecosystem, while we also took part in a meeting session with Belarusian Business Angels Round with AngelsBand. Our team has also participated in the Startup Battle at Imaguru Startup Hub, that organised by Startup Division. In the end, we had a networking party with Startups and Belarus ecosystem players at Imaguru.
Demium Startups startup pitches
On September 12th, EEMD participants visited Demium Startups Minsk branch and got to hear about the activities of Demium Startups from the program Director Elena Shkarubo as well as hear the pitches from the startups that are currently in the Demium Startups accelerator batch.
The list of startups:
- WellDone – Personalized wellness platform to help employees keep lifestyle balance
- Abibok – a platform to rent verified apartments for midterm
- SNOTRA – AI-based voice assistant for call centres and support departments
- SpiritupMe – a data-driven platform for engaging employees and sharing experience
- 3DMG – 3D model generating tool for game industry
- Shopping Assistant – AI-based shopping assistant in your messenger
Start-up Battle at IMAGURU
On September 12 during EEMD week, in collaboration with AngelsBAND – business angels in Belarus, Startup Division organised a Start-up Battle at Imaguru Startup Hub. The event attracted more than 100 participants and 8 start-ups which participated in a pitch competition. The participants of EEMD participated as jury members, selected the winner and provided valuable insights and comments for each of the participants. The list of start-ups which participated in Start-up Battle: Synpatic, Fasol, Lingvanex, FastServe, GMoney, Skinive – AI Dermatologist, Kicksharing Minsk, Parsers.
After the pitch competition, all attendees participated in a networking party where participants of EEMD interacted with start-ups and start-up ecosystem players in Belarus.
Day 5 – Getting familiar with the Minsk ecosystem
The last day of our great mission, we had the opportunity to have an excursion in EnCata office, where the participants learned about lean manufacturing, innovation in approaching R&D from the head of business development Petr Dudin and had a visit to the state-of-the-art MakeIt lab, where startups can develop their hardware products!
What they said
I was positively shocked by the immense talent and innovation we experienced in Kyiv and Minsk. It struck me how, despite structural hurdles and the need for more funding, both cities displayed such a vibrant startup culture with much creative drive that one could feel in almost every room we entered. Both Ukraine and Belarus have developed a strong base to become globally competitive and there’s much more potential to be unlocked.
Hannah Mara Schmitt – Social Media Manager at Bundesverband Deutsche Startups
EEMD was an incredible first introduction to the ecosystems of Ukraine and Belarus. The experienced dispelled a few myths for me, and gave me a good insight on the mechanics of the ecosystem in the region. Also a great network opportunity with other participants through whom this market discovery can expand and go even deeper.
Richard Murphy – Head of FCAT Europe at Fidelity Investments
Selected ecosystem builders
Organisation |Khazar Ventures
|Maurice Beckand Verwee
Country |The Netherlands
Position |Senior Product Manager
Organisation |Fidelity Investments
Position |Director of Public Affairs and Communications
Organisation | Bundesverband Deutsche Startups
Position |Head of Incubation Lisbon
Organisation |Demium Startups
Position |Head of Unit Nets, Grids and Society
Country | Germany
Position |Project Manager
Organisation |Spheric Accelerator
Country | Romania
Position |Program Manager
Organisation |Startup Wise Guys
Country | Lithuania
Position |Preincubation Department Manager
Organisation |Innovation and Entrepreneurship Department of Poznan Science and Technology Park
Country | Poland
Position |Head of FCAT Europe
Organisation |Fidelity Investments
Country | Ireland
Country | Slovakia
|Hannah Mara Schmitt
Position |Social Media Manager
Organisation |Bundesverband Deutsche Startups
Country | Germany
Hungry for more?
Pro-active investors, VCs, business angels and startup ecosystem leaders are looking for you: https://startuplighthouse.eu
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Get in touch with Startup Division if you want to get your startup to Ukraine, Belarus or the Baltics!