Prior to the Russian invasion, Ukraine had one of the world's most vibrant startup ecosystems, with over 4,000 local IT firms. The country was generating engineering and IT graduates at an extraordinary rate - 130,000 and 16,000 per year, respectively, or about twice as many as countries like the United Kingdom and Poland.
Many multinational firms have established branches in Ukraine, including Samsung, Microsoft, Snap, Boeing, Siemens, and Ericsson, but Ukrainians have also created a number of well-known digital startups.
Here are a few examples:
WhatsApp was cofounded in 2009 by Jan Koum, a Ukrainian emigrant to the United States. Koum was born in 1976 in Fastiv, the location where Russia launched its February invasion. In 2014, Facebook paid $19.3 billion for WhatsApp.
Grammarly: Three Ukrainians — Max Lytvyn, Alex Shevchenko, and Dmytro Lider – founded the ever-present grammatical correcting platform. The company, which has offices in both Ukraine and the United States, is now valued at $13 billion.
Gitlab: The popular devops collaboration platform was founded in 2014 by Dmitriy Zaporozhets and Sid Sijbrandij in Ukraine. It is one of the world's most lucrative companies, with over 1,200 employees in 65 countries.
Traces.AI: In 2014, two Ukrainian techies, Veronica Yurchuk and Kostyantyn Shysh, founded the company. Traces.AI employs synthetic intelligence knowledge to analyse over 2,000 physiological features of a person employing security cameras.
Petcube: Founded in Kyiv by Alex Neskin, Yaroslav Azhnyuk, and Andrey Klen, the company supplies wifi dwelling cameras that allow pet owners to monitor, play, and communicate with their dogs at all time using a mobile app. After neighbours complained about Neskin's dog Rocky barking while he was at work in 2012, he built a digicam with a laser pointer that allowed him to communicate with his pet through the Internet. Petcube was born the next year.
Jooble: Founded in Ukraine by Roman Prokofiev and Eugene Sobakarov, Jooble's purpose is to help people find their dream career. According to SimilarWeb, it has more than 90 million monthly subscribers in 71 countries and is the world's second most frequented employment service and one of the top 500 most viewed websites.
IT providers powerhouse
Prior to 2022, Ukraine was also on its way to become a global IT services powerhouse, ranking twelfth among the world's primary offshore software programme growth nations.
In 2015, the country has only 74,000 software developers. This increased to 166,000 by 2017 and is expected to reach 250,000 by 2021.
With about $5.7 billion in money earned in 2020, IT outsourcing in Ukraine was the second largest export provider trade. This was expected to reach $8.4 billion by 2025, but that was before Russia attacked the neighbour.