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IT startups in Ukraine on the rise despite challenges

Ukraine’s information technology sector seems to be booming, despite the country’s struggling economy. 

IT companies are on the rise in the eastern European country, and there seems to be no shortage of good news. 

It was only last month that Amazon paid $1 billion for the tech startup, Ring, which has its largest development centre in Ukraine. 

Not to mention the success of startups Grammarly – which raised $110 million last year – and Viewdle, which received recently received a $45 million cheque from Google.

And this is not because there is a healthy climate in Ukraine for startups to thrive. 

The heavily indebted economy in Ukraine is not the only challenge that presents itself to entrepreneurs. 

Tech firms often face illegal searches by law enforcement agencies, reports the Kyiv Post. Police have been known to confiscate equipment with little reason – sending crippling businesses.

Another Ukrainian business that has done well is MacPaw, which works to improve Apple’s Mac computers. It receiving a Red Dot Award for outstanding product design of one of its apps last year and taking home a Golden Kitty Award. The company is even on Inc. magazines list of the 5,000 fastest-growing companies in Europe in 2018.

Things weren’t always so smooth, though. Founder and CEO, Oleksandr Kosovan, told the Post that is was “utterly risky” to do business in Ukraine – and he would even avoid telling partners and clients where they were based.  

But he added that when corrupt president Viktor Yanukovych was ousted during the revolution of 2014, he was inspired – along with others – to prove that Ukraine could rise from the ashes. 

Problems remain, however, and it still isn’t easy to do business here, he says. 

His company has boomed recently – 552 percent growth with 2.6 million euros in revenues last year. But still people leave his company for the gold-paved streets of Silicon Valley.

He added that one day he hopes people will be coming from Facebook to MacPaw.

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