Are you a magnet for mosquitos like I am? Ever spilled coffee or water on your notebook only to lose all your notes? Fallen asleep in class/students falling asleep in your class? Wondered if the product you were purchasing was authentic? Struggled to understand legal jargon or patent regulations? Know someone who struggles with bipolar disorder? Wanted to help better the environment but didn’t want to change your life dramatically to do so?
If any of these apply to you, read on! These inspiring startups from Ukraine are actively addressing these concerns and many are coming to the U.S. to showcase their hard work.
The competitions, bootcamps, and awards outlined below are part of CRDF Global’s ongoing Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Program (STEP) in Ukraine. Designed to assist emerging companies refine their business development strategies and connect with international mentors and investors, STEP Ukraine was created in 2006 and has been hosting events every year since. Its establishment has been instrumental in solidifying an effective working relationship between rising businesses, established companies, and up-and-coming entrepreneurs from Ukraine with similar counterparts in the U.S. CRDF Global contracts local companies, such as the Ukrainian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (UVCA), to lead in-country planning and execution of program events, thus strengthening in-country capacities.
The ultimate objective of this program is to ensure Ukraine has the necessary tools to autonomously sponsor and support these new startups that will create sustainable economic growth for the country and contribute to the overall global economy. The exchange of innovative technological ideas across different sectors and regions would greatly benefit international relations, international business cooperation, and international scientific collaboration.
This September, CRDF Global collaborated with Startup Depot to conduct the 2019 Startup Competition at the IT Arena in Lviv, Ukraine. Featuring over 4,000 participants with representatives from 100 startups and 90+ guest speakers, this conference provided a collaborative stage for global changemakers from a variety of fields, including business, technology, media and engineering to come together and share their ideas.
Legal Nodes is an online assistant that helps companies define their legal needs. They connect each of their customers, which include many startups, with a legal expert who can assist these companies solve their legal issues — thereby automating the legal work and reducing costs that would otherwise be spent on in-house lawyers. During the event, members of the Legal Nodes team were interviewed by a journalist from AIN.ua. They said, “With regards to networking, this event is considered the top tech event in Ukraine. Here, among the participants, a kind of chemistry develops and continues even after the event. Participation in the Startup Competition is a wonderful chance to explain your product and receive valuable feedback.” This chemistry among participants has created a strong network of Ukrainian startups. These companies support each other and through this, have realized that there is a need for companies like Legal Nodes and Patentbot in the startup industry.
The award for second place was split between two startups: PatentBot and Nuka.
PatentBot is also a legal startup, which allows for a more streamlined trademark and copyright process for businesses. Their product is an online bot that assists companies in checking trademarks and in receiving their own trademark certificate — all in just a few clicks. This is much faster and simpler than the current process most companies undergo. All data is protected by the team’s blockchain. Currently, the bot works in the EU, the U.S., Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, China, and Kazakhstan. A Forbes tech review article humorously states that the bot, “does a monotonous thing like searching and registering a trademark, something that makes half my brain go numb just thinking about it.” This lighthearted description illustrates the bot’s quick ability to save time and effort—two things new startups always need more of. Nuka produces an “eternal stationery”— a notebook with a metal pencil that never runs out of ink. The notebook is tear-resistant, 100 percent waterproof, magnetic, and comes with an eraser that allows the user to write and erase as often as they want on any page.
The company also developed an app to quickly and effortlessly scan pages from a notebook, digitizing them onto their app. For example, users can scan their handwritten calendars from the notebook, and the app will automatically upload their schedules and send them notifications. The 17-year-old and 21-year-old founders have been immensely successful on Kickstarter and Indiegogo and have already gained international traction. Nuka attended the CES in January of 2019 and was featured in a BBC video review, which showed the BBC correspondent using the notepad under water at a local swimming pool.
Later that week, CRDF Global employees and representatives traveled to Kyiv to conduct a two-day bootcamp in collaboration with the UVCA. From October 2-3, 2019, CRDF Global employees Evgeniy Krasowski and Nina Cairns and experts Marty Kaszubowski and Warren Haber, along with local Ukrainian expert Jane Klepa, mentored the nine preselected Ukrainian startups. These two days included two rounds of pitches and critiques, individual mentoring sessions, and presentations from the experts.
Nine startup teams, CRDF Global employees (Evgeniy Krasowski and Nina Cairns) and representatives (Marty Kaszubowski and Warren Haber), UVCA employee (Karyna Chernenko), and regional expert (Jane Klepa) at the 2-day bootcamp at 1991 Civic Tech Center in Kyiv, Ukraine. Startup teams include: Meredot, UBreez, Edpro Amperia, Mosquito Control, Wyrex, Bicovery, CamTouch, Effa, and UATag
On October 17, 2019, all startup teams gathered at iHub in Kyiv to compete for the six available slots to attend the CES in Las Vegas, Nevada from January 7-10, 2020. Out of the 50 teams that applied and nine teams that competed, the following six are those that have secured their spots:
EdPro Amperia—physics will never be the same after this product. Their interactive physics lab kit teaches students about electricity and magnetism with their set lab activities and demonstrations. The kit uses rechargeable batteries, eliminating the need for a plug-in and making it even easier to use in all classroom settings.
Mosquito Control—no sprays, serums, or bracelets required for this one. This product will sit in the park, in your yard, or on the city streets and capture female mosquitos in the area. The device is completely safe for humans and pets and does not disrupt the natural environment. It attracts mosquitos by emulating a human body, emitting CO2, heat, and a light.
Bicovery—using technology as a medicine. This company uses wearable technology and machine learning to track the emotional and physical state of bipolar patients in real time to better understand their triggers and alert the user, their doctors, and their caregivers of an upcoming crisis.
CamTouch—make class or office presentations more interesting. This technology uses any projector and a “magic wand” (a stylus) to turn any surface into an interactive board. CamTouch is compatible with all applications and computer programs. After downloading the CamTouch software on your computer, you can set up your desired interactive surface in less than 10 minutes!
Effa—do your part to help the environment, one toothbrush at a time. This one-time use toothbrush is 100 percent recyclable. Its body is composed of sugarcane paper and a cornstarch head that holds the nylon brushes together. Once finished using the brush, simply detach the head from the body of the toothbrush and place the paper body into the paper recycling bin and the nylon head into the plastic recycling bin.
UATag—everything in the world can be counterfeited…everything but UATag. This technology is based on a two-level authentication—a physical and digital verification process. Utilizing the unique nature of broken glass, this system ensures that the uatag on the product will never be replicated. Scanning the product on the UATag app, adds an additional layer of impenetrable security to this anti-theft product.