Ukraine’s Tech Sector Stays Innovative in Adversity

Ukraine’s Tech Sector Stays Innovative in Adversity

Published: September 29, 2022

Ukraine was already perceived as one of the largest hubs whose IT industry is one of the fastest growing in the world.

The beginning of 2022 was one of the most successful periods in the history of Ukraine’s IT. In February of this year, the country’s IT exports totaled $839 million.

Ukraine as an IT Hub

Before the start of 2022, one in five Fortune 500 companies worked with Ukrainian IT professionals.

Many Ukrainian tech businesses were featured in international rankings of the world's largest IT services providers. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky announced bold ambitions to make Ukraine the most significant European tech hub and grow the tech industry’s GDP share from 4 to 10 percent by 2025.

According to the National Bank of Ukraine, in the first quarter of 2022, the IT industry generated $2 billion in product and service exports, which is a record value. Ukrainian developers demonstrated that they are reliable partners even in the most challenging of conditions.

 Ukraine’s Tech Sector: Air Alert app
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The New Reality of Ukrainian Tech

Ukrainian tech has now adapted to their new reality.

In the case of KindGeek agency, 95% of their workforce has returned to their regular workflow. Some continue working from the company’s Lviv office, some work remotely from other cities in Ukraine, while others work from abroad.

With only their laptops and a decent Internet connection, Ukrainian techies continue developing innovative solutions for international customers.

In the beginning, KindGeek managers ran a communication campaign with their customers. They discussed the circumstances of each project with every department and, by staying in touch with their customers and adjusting the planning, the company managed to keep up with deadlines and project releases.

They also redefined the business contingency plan, so everyone knew what they were supposed to do.

Sean le Tissier, a British entrepreneur and founder of Coffee King, noticed that the Ukrainian team managed to keep up to speed and get one step closer to the product release.

“The team has grown from a KindGeek point of view, productivity is up, and we're at the critical mass point of launch. There are no issues. I am very happy with everything, and KindGeek managed very well, considering the circumstances.”

Communication within the project teams has also become much more frequent and personal. Joe Postle, Head of Product at Jaja Finance, a British neobank, mentioned some of the positive effects the critical conditions had on his project team.

“I feel like the team is actually closer now, after the last few months. I also feel like I know people more personally than I do just professionally, which is really nice.”

The Era for Innovative Services and Digital Products

One of Ukraine’s most downloaded apps as of late has been Air Alert by Ajax Systems. The solution notifies the user about an air raid in seconds, sometimes even before the actual sirens go off.

The Air Alert app saves lives in the regions close to the frontline by instantly notifying users about the danger. It is now used by more than 4 million users in Ukraine. Apart from the Air Alert app, the developers also created a Telegram bot that sends messages and alerts users of incoming attacks.

Tech specialists also created various maps of air alerts across the regions of Ukraine. Maps are updated automatically every 15 seconds.

One of them – Air Alert Map – allows users to see the status of the areas, the duration of the air raid alarms, and the alarm stats of every region within the selected period. The map's design can be customized: with a light or dark theme, detailed or simplified, static or dynamic.

Ukrainian e-governance app by Digital Transformation Ministry – Diia – is one of the most efficient app examples. Before the war, it provided over 50 government and public services and served as a digital ID. Today, the app is enhanced with many features.

Now, Ukrainians can report the movement of Russian troops, donate to the army and charity foundations, get financial assistance, record the damage, watch Ukrainian TV streams and pay taxes, all through a single app on their phone.

In May, the Ukrainian president, along with the Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov, announced the launch of UNITED24. U24 is a fundraising platform where people from all around the world can support Ukraine financially. The funds are transferred directly to the National Bank of Ukraine and distributed between the ministries.

Besides crucial apps like Air Alert, Ukrainians developed solutions to strengthen the digital frontline. For instance, Reface has launched Memomet, a free app for creating Ukrainian memes. AI-based meme constructor allows Ukrainians to speak up, spread information, and heal nationwide trauma with the power of humor.

Another platform – Brave Ukraine – includes pro-Ukrainian material for social media as well as printable material. The campaign was supported by 140 cities worldwide and the slogan “Be brave like Ukraine” appeared on every demonstration supporting the country.

To support local businesses, Ukrainians created Spend with Ukraine, a platform that gathered over 200 top Ukrainian creative companies to help shoppers from all over the world keep the country’s economy afloat.

The Future of Ukraine’s Tech

Ukrainian tech entrepreneurs have shown remarkable resilience in times of uncertainty.

The bravery of the Ukrainian IT society laid the foundation for the industry's future – it proved that world tech giants could count on them. We can already see it with PayPal, Wise, and Revolut entering the Ukrainian market.

The support from foreign businesses combined with the high spirit and expertise of Ukrainian tech entrepreneurs promises to make Ukraine the biggest tech hub in Eastern Europe.

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