Two years in, Ukraine’s tech ecosystem still stands strong

The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 triggered significant upheaval, as over 14 million people, nearly a third of Ukraine’s population, were forced to leave their homes due to the conflict. Families were separated, children lost their homes, and communities were devastated – these are just a few of the consequences that the war has had on the country and its people. 

Two years in, however, the country’s tech ecosystem still stands strong and it’s one of the foundations for Ukraine’s revival. While the situation remains tense, the past two years also saw an increased number of international partnerships, investments, and innovation in the form of many products and services – all of which will eventually play a crucial role in rebuilding Ukraine’s tech sector.

SET University

While the war has left deep scars, Ukraine’s tech community persists, driven by its commitment and desire to keep the country’s economy ticking. During this process, IT companies and startups have played a pivotal role, with founders and entrepreneurs spearheading these efforts. 

Oleg Panchenko is a Ukrainian entrepreneur and owner of startup FreySoft, Freystaff, and MakeDeal. During the past two years, Panchenko has strived to be at the forefront of maintaining and growing tech initiatives.

According to Panchenko, the key to sustaining and growing Ukraine’s ecosystem lies in a multi-faceted approach. 

Innovation must be at the core of our strategies, and this means supporting startups, embracing risk, and ensuring access to capital. Government policies and international partnerships will play a critical role in providing the necessary environment for tech growth. Many have already created different initiatives to support this growth better,” Panchenko explains.

Moreover, throughout the past two years he has also witnessed a noticeable trend where companies are transitioning from service-oriented businesses to product-focused ones. 

SET University

“This shift involves developing expertise in specific niches that provide substantial added value to businesses. In this evolving landscape, leveraging niche specializations can propel Ukrainian tech companies to the forefront of global markets,” he points out.

Kyiv-based macOS and iOS software development company MacPaw have been embracing such trends for a while now – during the second year of the full-scale invasion, MacPaw continued its operations, by launching a new cybersecurity division Moonlock and also opening a new office in Boston, which also represents a significant milestone.

MacPaw in Kyiv

“Over the past two years, we have been working on strengthening our resilience against potential threats and ensuring the long-term stability of company operations. The company prioritized implementing a comprehensive risk-management system. This initiative is not just about anticipating risks, but also about crafting a proactive framework for managing these challenges head-on.” the company told IT Logs in a statement. 

MacPaw’s bombshelter

Further on, as a key part of its strategic revamp, there is the business continuity planning. The system is designed to guarantee that MacPaw can maintain its operations under various emergency scenarios.

“The previous year underscored new potential risks to our business’s continuous operations, such as blackouts. Here is why we created detailed action plans for teams, ensuring our locations are well-equipped with the necessary technology and resources to continue operations seamlessly during power outages. We have provided portable generators to all company specialists who require them, enabling individuals to remain connected and work from home during energy disruptions,” the company adds.

MacPaw’s office in Boston

The war and the conditions that tech startups and companies are operating in have also taught Ukrainian entrepreneurs many lessons. While some of these lessons have been harsh, they have also provided valuable insights. 


“We have understood decentralization and globalization since COVID-19. To be clear, the big war has made serious adjustments to our vision of the market. And although our Ukrainian IT sector still attracts clients from all over the world with its quality, at the same time we see a significant outflow of investors from 2023. It has become difficult for many clients (especially startups) to get investor approval to collaborate with our IT companies or hire a remote team in Ukraine,” says Viktor Tymchenko, global head of delivery of Digicode, the European division of a global professional services company specializing in consulting and software engineering.

For Oleksandr Solovei, CEO and co-founder of cash flow management tool Finmap, the past year was also the year when the startup secured a funding round of €1 million. And this investment came after lots of initial challenges that the company had to overcome – one of them being its co-founder Ivan Kaunov activity on the battlefield from the very beginning of the war. 

Oleksandr Solovei

We have lost 90% of our revenues. At the very beginning of the war, our co-founder went to the war field, and we were very intensively reshaping all the business processes that were led by him. And I, like a co-founder and the CEO, was taking responsibility for all the processes,” Solovei tells IT Logs.

Now, the startup is focused firmly on executing its growth strategy.

We started doing a lot of things the way that we’ve never done before. Our approaches in our experimentation and experiments frameworks. So we’ve done different things and during this year the main challenge was to continue growing andchanging our approaches and looking for the most efficient way of doing that,” Solovei says. 

Before her ventures in the tech industry, Dana Sydorenko served as a paramedic in the Ukrainian Army from 2014 to 2015. Her passion for bringing people together and having experience both in the field of games and in classical business ultimately led her to co-found gaming startup GameTree in 2019. 

Dana Sydorenko

The biggest challenge that GameTree faced during the past couple of years was how to grow and develop products in the face of complete instability and unpredictability of war.

“All team members, even outside of Ukraine, feel a deep connection to all situations, as this is a big part of everyday conversations and life. Most of the team, especially in Ukraine, works in conditions of high moral tension and continues to perform their work not 100, but 200%, because they do not want to let the company down in such a difficult time. The war tested our adaptability and resilience as individuals and teams,” Sydorenko tells IT Logs. 

Now, GameTree’s plans revolve mostly around strategy, not tactics. “We have learned to have a very flexible roadmap to be able to adjust fast and react fast. The war taught us some techniques to navigate without controlling the situation,” she points out. 

For Dmytro Zarakhovych, co-founder and managing partner of techfin company, the main lesson that he is taking away from 2023 is flexibility.

“The last few years have had a mixed impact on our company: we learned to quickly adapt to changes and use challenges as opportunities for growth. The main lesson was the ability to be flexible in our operations and the ability to quickly reorient in response to external influences,” he says. 

One of the most important institutions when it comes to the country’s tech education is the recently established SET University. The university started working only two months before the beginning of the full-scale war, so its whole story is very much linked with the war. 

Iryna Volnytska

“When the invasion started, we changed our plans to launch big programs and focused on doing things “here and now” to help the country and people who lost jobs. That’s how we kicked off our first free cybersecurity courses. We were one of the first ones to teach people right after the war began, and in just a few weeks, we got over 5000 applications,” SET University’s president Iryna Volnytska tells IT Logs.

Volnytska took up the challenge of leading the organization with over 10 years of team management experience in the technology sector, as well as in business consulting. The idea behind the university was to create the first innovative university in Ukraine where education would focus on technology and entrepreneurship. 

SET University

As she emphasizes, the war didn’t stop them; it just showed even more why what they are doing is important. 

“Everything we do at the university is about boosting the Ukrainian tech scene. We teach people not just how to code well but also how to make successful tech businesses and products, and as a result, it will help support the Ukrainian economy, attract more investment, and create more jobs. Now we’ve got master’s programs, short courses, and we’re exactly working on our unique concept of bachelor programs,” Volnytska adds. 

According to her, while now the focus often revolves around topics like war, finances, businesses, and those achieving success despite the ongoing challenges, education doesn’t seem to garner much attention, as if it’s not considered crucial or fascinating. 

Iryna Volnytska

“Nevertheless, I want to emphasize that quality education is paramount. Without schools and universities attracting smart and talented Ukrainians, there won’t be a foundation for rebuilding our economy and the overall state. The current brain drain we’re facing is significant, exacerbated by losses in education due to both COVID and the two years of war. This underscores why I’m deeply enthusiastic about the concept of SET University,” Volnytska explains.

On the question of what Ukrainian tech students are most interested in today, she says that defense tech is one of the areas that is most appealing. 

“Also, because of the war, folks who used to work in outsourcing сompanies are now more into coming up with their own products, so they are learning new hard skills, doing a lot to develop a product mindset and soft skills. And, you know, when it comes to other interests, our students are just like the rest of the world — super excited about AI,” Volnytska tells IT Logs. 

For Ukrainian IT professionals themselves, the past two years have meant tension, loss, feelings of not doing enough, while also enduring sleepless nights and working hours in  bomb shelters

For Kyiv-based tech PR Valeria Salivanchuk, working under such conditions has been an everyday experience. At the same time, these two years have also shown the endurance and strength of Ukrainians every day, and Ukrainians in the IT sector in particular, she says.

Those Ukrainians that stayed here are full of faith and have a very deep understanding of what and why they are doing.  Major cities are buzzing with networking events and opportunities like boot camps and accelerators. For example, stepping into UNIT City, Eastern Europe’s largest technological innovation park in Kyiv, you can feel the vibrant and optimistic spirit of the tech community. In one building, Ajax is being developed, startups are pitching in another, and Brave1 is being worked on in yet another, all while hosting delegations and providing offline events for SET University students,” Salivanchuk tells IT Logs.

Such developments are inevitably connected to the question of what does the future hold for the Ukrainian tech ecosystem. According to Panchenko, the answer itself lies in the technologies that address both the needs created by the invasion of Ukraine and the global tech trends. 

Source: Skiftech

Military technology, cybersecurity, remote work technologies, and e-commerce are areas where immediate advancements are crucial. However, the long-term growth of Ukraine’s tech sector lies in embracing and leading innovations in AI, machine learning, and sustainable technologies. These are not just trends but necessities that will shape the future of our tech landscape.” Panchenko concludes.

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