Ukraine-focused venture fund races to support 200 tech startup refugees
Three months ago, Ukraine’s tech scene was vibrant. High-profile founders like WhatsApp’s Jan Koum, Revolut Ltd.’s Vlad Yatsenko, and the country’s roughly 250,000 technology professionals gave Ukraine an outsized reputation among coders, with tech workers clustered in offices in Kyiv and other hubs around the country.
Russia’s invasion changed all that. Overnight, Ukrainian entrepreneurs found themselves trying to keep their businesses functioning amid shelling and curfews and increasingly dependent on outsiders offering assistance ranging from visa sponsorship to financing.
Ukrainian Tech Ventures, a non-profit venture fund designed to support Ukrainian entrepreneurs who have been displaced, is one such effort. It’s looking to raise $50 million to invest in early-stage funds that will back 200 start-ups with Ukrainian ties over four years, looking to avert a cash crunch that could otherwise cause the failure of potentially promising start-ups.