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Soros fund invests usoftware engineering company Ciklum to help Ukraine “break from the past”

18.11.2015 Posted in News No Comments

By Adrien Henni, Jane Kuhuk Ukrainian Digital news / Nov 18, 2015

The Ukrainian Redevelopment Fund, a private investment vehicle launched by US businessman and philanthropist George Soros earlier this year, has announced its acquisition of “a significant equity stake” in Ciklum, a major software engineering company operating globally from its main office in Kyiv (Kiev).

The Ukrainian Redevelopment Fund is set to acquire the entire stake held by Horizon Capital, a leading Ukrainian private equity fund manager, as well as an undisclosed portion of the stake held by Majgaard Holdings Ltd. No capital injection is taking place.

The transaction, of which the details have not been disclosed, is expected to be completed by the end of 2015, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approval.

Founded in 2002 by Danish businessman Torben Majgaard, Ciklum has asserted itself as a leading player in Ukraine’s rapidly-growing IT scene. The company now employs more than 2,500 programmers. Facing growing international demand for software development services, Ciklum has recently opened a development center in Belarus – a former Soviet republic neighboring with Ukraine – together with another in Romania, and two in Pakistan, all in addition to its six locations in Ukraine.

“We intend to open additional development facilities in Poland and Spain by the end of the year,” the Ciklum press service told Ukraine Digital News.

Many of Ciklum’s clients are western companies developing their own products. No less than 25 of them have “reached the IPO stage with Ciklum’s development capabilities,” the company claims. One of these companies is Just-Eat, which was valued at more than $2 billion when it went public in London in the spring of last year.

Ciklum itself is not ruling out an IPO, but has stated that, either way, it “will not happen in a short-term perspective.”

A signal for international investors?

“Soros’s Ukrainian Redevelopment Fund has made its very first investment in the IT sector,” notes Andrey Kolodyuk, whose company AVentures has drawn the attention of Soros and other international investors to this industry.

This is a signal for the global investment community, showing it is time to step in and invest in the Ukrainian IT sector, which did not get the deserved attention in the past,” Kolodyuk added in an exchange with Ukraine Digital News.

Together with Soros, Kolodyuk has joined Ciklum’s board of directors.

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Andrey Kolodyuk (AVentures), George Soros, Yevgen Sysoyev (AVentures) and Torben Majgaard (Ciklum)

“I am very excited about my investment in Ciklum,” Soros stated. “It is a very dynamic company in an industry that represents the future of Ukraine. It is also an investment in what I call the New Ukraine – Ukrainians who are young, well-educated, and eager for their country to break from the past and to build an open society. I hope that my investment serves as an example to other investors.”

The Ukrainian Redevelopment Fund presents itself as “a private investment vehicle which focuses on special situations and private equity investments in Ukraine” as well as “companies with significant operations in Ukraine.” The fund targets investments which “have the potential to promote economic and social development in Ukraine.”

A long-standing commitment for Ukraine

In a separate move, the fund also announced today an investment in Dragon Capital New Ukraine Fund under the management of Kyiv-based Dragon Capital. Other investors may be invited to participate after the first closing of this seed-stage round. The New Ukraine Fund will invest and bring managerial support in a wide range of sectors of the Ukrainian economy to support long-term growth, the Interfax Ukraine news agency reported.

Hungarian-born George Soros has been supporting Ukraine’s transition to a free society since the early 1990s through the Open Society Foundations, which he founded. The International Renaissance Foundation, which is a part of the Open Society family of foundations, played a noticeable role supporting civil society during the Euromaidan protests, and continues to “work with civil society to achieve essential reforms and help citizens” from annexed or war-torn areas of Ukraine.

Soros believes that “the new Ukraine is the most valuable asset that Europe has.” Earlier this year, he developed what he called “a winning strategy for Ukraine” and circulated it among the European authorities – with some influence, if judging by the reaction of pro-Russian activists who view Soros as a “behind-the-scene puppet-master” in Ukraine.

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Could Ukraine Be The Next Silicon Valley?

24.11.2014 Posted in News 1 Comment

By Greg Satell

Forbes 

Even among the sordid histories of Eastern Europe, Ukraine is particularly tragic.  In just the 20th century, it was starved by Stalin, decimated by Hitler, subjected to seventy years of incompetent Soviet rule, looted by its own government and, most recently, invaded by Putin.

Ukraine’s situation today remains desperate.   The country is in dire financial straits, dependent on financial assistance from the IMF, US and EU.  Crimea has been annexed, the eastern provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk are caught in a frozen conflict and its chief antagonist, Russia, controls its gas supply.

Yet still, Ukraine is not without promise.  While much of its Soviet era industry lies dormant within the conflict zone, its tech industry is booming.  I recently talked with Yevgen Sysoyev of AVentures, a venture capital firm in Kyiv, and he thinks that we may be seeing the birth of a new Ukrainian renaissance.  While that may sound crazy, he might very well be right. (more…)

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Most influential people in Ukrainian IT industry: Yevgen Sysoyev

27.04.2014 Posted in News No Comments

By Olga Karpenko, April 25

Transaltion of the article appeared at AIN.UA

Yesterday at the conference of iForum, Denis Dovgopoliy, Managing Director of BVU Group, announced the list of the most influential people in Ukrainian technological business and venture investments in 2013. Compared to the last year, venture investor Yevgen Sysoyev progressed in his position from the 5th to the 1st place, leaving behind Alexandr Olshansky and Viktoriya Tigipko.

This year the ranking was composed in the following manner: BVU Group asked 23 experts to give a list of people who, in their eyes, influenced the market the most. Top-5 people in the list were assigned 4 points each, all the rest – 1 point. The winners were determined by adding up the points.

(more…)

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Audio player VOX raised next round of financing from AVentures Capital, Torben Majgaard and TA Venture

18.04.2014 Posted in News No Comments

International venture fund AVentures Capital, Torben Majgaard (founder of the international outsourcing company Ciklum) and venture fund TA Venture invested in a follow-on seed round in VOX audio player maker Coppertino.

The amount of the current follow-on round with the previous investor AVentures Capital, and new Torben Majgaard and TA Venture has not been disclosed, as the company is in negotiations with other investors. The total amount raised will be announced at a later date. AVentures Capital was an investor in Coppertino in the seed round in mid-2013. (more…)

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Despite political turbulence, players are bullish on Ukrainian IT businesses

15.04.2014 Posted in News No Comments

Press-release,

15 Apr 2014

AVentures Capital, a leading venture capital fund, and Torben Majgaard, founder of the international outsourcing firm Ciklum, have invested in follow-on rounds for Augmented Pixels. The company is based in Ukraine but operates internationally.

The investors are confident that now is the right time to build an innovative Ukraine, as changes initiated by the IT community are helping to develop the country’s IT industry. (more…)

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StarWind Software Secures $3.25M Series B Funding from Almaz Capital, ABRT Venture, AVentures Capital

15.04.2014 Posted in News No Comments

Leading Provider of Software Defined Storage for Microsoft Hyper-V and Windows Server 2012 Help Unlock all the Benefits of Virtualization without Expensive Hardware and Added IT Staff

MENLO PARK, CA and WAKEFIELD, MA – April 15, 2014 – StarWind Software Inc., a leading provider of software-defined storage for Hyper-V environments, today announced a $3.25M Series B round of venture capital financing. The round was led by Almaz Capital, with participation from ABRT Venture, and AVentures Capital. Alexander (Sasha) Galitsky, a general partner at Almaz Capital, will join the company’s board. (more…)

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How to stimulate growth of IT industry in Ukraine

27.03.2014 Posted in News No Comments

English translation of the Forbes.ua article 

March 24, 2014

Author: Sergey Mishko

A special working group has been called to study the experience of Israel, USA and other countries and propose a reform program for the government

As mentioned in the Open Letter (link http://www.slideshare.net/YevgenSysoyev/national-project-innovative-ukraine) addressed to the Ukrainian politicians and ministers, “Created from scratch, IT industry became one of the key industries in Ukraine, which added more than 100,000 jobs for well-paid specialists”.  (more…)

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Ukraine’s Startups bullish despite political strife

18.03.2014 Posted in News No Comments

March 14, REDHerring

Ukraine has stumbled from a revolution to a standoff with big neighbor Russia. But the country’s tech sector is looking up thanks to a hotbed of talent, and a willingness of that talent to hone its skills abroad. The giant nation of almost 46 million, Europe’s second largest by area, is home to a growing number of ventures, many of which are making good money.  (more…)

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CheckiO moves to Las Vegas with backing from Zappos CEO’s fund

24.12.2013 Posted in News No Comments
CheckiO, a 2013 Techstars Boston grad which offers an interactive code-learning game, has relocated from the Boston area to Las Vegas after raising $750,000 in seed funding led by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s VegasTechFund.

“Having strong roots in Boston and with the West Coast support we want to grow CheckiO nationally,” co-founder and CEO Liza Avramenko said in an email.  (more…)