Category Archives: Business & Prices

Why American Farmers Are Hacking Their Tractors With Ukrainian Firmware

To avoid the draconian locks that John Deere puts on the tractors they buy, farmers throughout America’s heartland have started hacking their equipment with firmware that’s cracked in Eastern Europe and traded on invite-only, paid online forums.

Tractor hacking is growing increasingly popular because John Deere and other manufacturers have made it impossible to perform “unauthorized” repair on farm equipment, which farmers see as an attack on their sovereignty and quite possibly an existential threat to their livelihood if their tractor breaks at an inopportune time.

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/why-american-farmers-are-hacking-their-tractors-with-ukrainian-firmware

Grammarly, With $110 Million, Brings Artificial Intelligence to Writing

Founders Max Lytvyn, Alex Shevchenko are Ukrainain.

One of the most basic human activities, writing, is getting an assist from machines.

Startup Grammarly uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to help improve people’s writing, from basic spelling, grammar and style to more advanced suggestions on tone and context-specific language.

The San Francisco company has been bootstrapped since its founding in 2009 but has now raised $110 million in its first institutional funding as it looks to expand and ramp up hiring. General Catalyst led the growth equity round with participation from Breyer Capital, IVP, SignalFire and Spark Capital.

The 110-person startup has grown rapidly since it became a free service two years ago—it now has 6.9 million daily active users and has been profitable since early on, according to the company. The app has 18,000 reviews and more than 10 million downloads on the Chrome Web Store.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/grammarly-with-110-million-brings-artificial-intelligence-to-writing-1494243003

Report: Ukrainian IT industry employs 100,000 people

The Ukrainian IT industry now employs 99,940 people — up from 89,300 last year — according to the latest report of DOU.UA, an authoritative industry resource. The figure includes programmers, QA specialists, project managers and other IT-related professionals.

Almost half of these professionals live in Kyiv (Kiev). Others are inhabitants of such other major Ukrainian cities as Kharkiv (Kharkov), Lviv (Lvov), Dnipro (previoulsy known as Dnipropetrovsk), and Odessa.

With its Ukrainian offices in Kyiv, Dnipro, Lviv, Kharkiv and Vinnytsia, US-headquartered EPAM is the biggest employer in the industry. Among other industry leaders are such companies as SoftServe, Luxoft, GlobalLogic and Ciklum, if judging by the number of employees, says the report.

With monthly salaries reaching or exceeding $3,000 for certain specialties, remunerations in the Ukrainian IT sector are high or very high by local standards.

Women are becoming more interested in the field. This year the share of female specialists now reaches 15%, up two percentage points from last year.

http://www.uadn.net/2016/11/23/report-ukrainian-it-industry-employs-100000-people/

IT investors call on government to ease tech companies’ path to growth

Prominent Ukrainian capital investors and business angels discussed their algorithms for investing in Ukraine’s tech industry at the Lviv IT Arena conference on Oct. 1.

And all agreed that the process of investing, either in big tech companies or small startups, could be made simpler and easier if the government did its part by passing better laws and improving the economy.

https://www.kyivpost.com/technology/investors-call-government-ease-tech-companies-path-growth.html

Ukraine Plans to Make Military Attack Drones

Visit www.theubj.com for more great stories!

#ukraine #drones #manufacturing
By Igor Kossov
KYIV — Ukraine plans to test locally-made military attack drones next year, according to President Petro Poroshenko and state defense giant Ukroboronprom.
Poroshenko called for “new, modern weapons to defend against the aggressor,” in a speech last week in Kharkiv. To that end, he said that a priority is to develop cruise missiles and attack drones.

Earlier, Ukroboronprom general director Roman Romanov told Poroshenko-owned Channel 5 TV station that armed UAVs are in development by state aircraft developer Antonov, a part of Ukroboronprom.

“This UAV model that we are making now at Antonov will be tested soon, I want to say next year,” said Romanov. “It’s designed to carry weapons, rockets.”

UKRAINE’S BIG DEFENSE INDUSTRY

Ukraine was the world’s 12th largest arms exporter in 2015, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
Multiple requests for comment to Ukroboronprom and Antonov were not returned last week.

Talk of developing military drones had been circulating since the start of the conflict with Russia in 2014. Several light drone models, designed for recon and artillery targeting were designed by volunteer civilian engineer groups such as PeoplesProject and Army SOS.

Alexander Turchinov, the National Security and Defense Council Secretary, stated earlier this year that Ukraine’s military has a “huge demand for combat UAVs” and that production will be prioritized by Antonov.

Ukroboronprom unveiled the design of its first UAV in July 2015 and showcased the completed model in February. The BpAK-MP-1 Spectator, built by Ukroboronprom subsidiary Meridian and a team from Kyiv Technical University, is a light fixed wing recon drone that can be launched by hand and can carry an electronics suite with a mass of up to 1.5 kilograms.

JOINT VENTURE WITH POLAND

Future UAVs, possibly including the much larger attack drones, will have help from Poland. Ukroboronprom signed a memorandum of understanding with Polish developer WB Electronics SA in 2015. Among the MOU’s provisions was an agreement to cooperate on UAV production.

According to Ukroboron deputy director Arthur Kheruvymov’s comments to the media last year, combat drones may be part of the agreement. He mentioned that WB Electronics will help develop a machine with a 14-meter wing span that can find and destroy targets.

The MOU was broadened this year in September. In public, the Polish and Ukrainian sides were vague about what new agreements were reached.

Three separate drone developers at this year’s thirteenth annual International Arms Exhibit in Kyiv said that despite strong pro-UAV statements by military and Ukroboronprom officials, they have not seen real demand for their products this year. As a result, they are turning to the more lucrative civilian agricultural sector.

With reporting from UBJ Kharkiv Correspondent, Kate Sukhopleshchenko — kate.sukhopleshchenko@theubj.com

For comments and news tips, please email UBJ Defense Correspondent Igor Kossov at igor.kossov@the ubj.com.

Photo: Poland’s WB Electronics displays its Fly Eye reconnaissance drones on its website. WB Electronics made a deal with Ukroboronprom to help it develop unmanned aerial vehicles. (supplied)

IT investors call on government to ease tech companies’ path to growth

Prominent Ukrainian capital investors and business angels discussed their algorithms for investing in Ukraine’s tech industry at the Lviv IT Arena conference on Oct. 1.

And all agreed that the process of investing, either in big tech companies or small startups, could be made simpler and easier if the government did its part by passing better laws and improving the economy.

The help of investors is almost always needed to develop young companies, according to Horizon Capital CEO Lenna Koszarny. She compared California’s Silicon Valley, the desired destination for many IT startups, with the Earth’s highest mountain and said, “If I needed to climb the Everest, I would go with a guide.”

But the creation of partnership between investors and entrepreneurs is not entirely dependent on figures and business plans, she said.

“We look, first of all, at the entrepreneur, at the spark in the eye. We look for passion, we look for energy,” Koszarny said. “Investing is both art and science.”

Digital Future CEO Oleksii Vitchenko agreed: “People are the most important asset in any startup.” However, he said that there’s another important thing startups should have to attract his attention – companies should be focused on global markets.

“We want to invest into something digital that can compete globally,” Vitchenko said.

The Oct. 1 investment panel discussion at the conference was focused on details of putting money into companies, and, according to managing director at HP Tech Ventures Vitaly Golomb, the final goal isn’t only to earn money after investing.

“We’re investing in a third technology revolution,” Golomb said.

https://www.kyivpost.com/technology/investors-call-government-ease-tech-companies-path-growth.html

Nova Poshta rolls out forwarding service for shopping from US online stores

Meest Express has been doing this too, but they are a poorly run, backward company with rude, incompetent customer support and no vision or drive.

Called NP Shopping, the service helps users purchase goods from U.S. internet-based retailers by bypassing the requirement that сustomers have a U.S. postal address.

A mail-forwarding service works by providing an intermediary U.S. address for customers. Purchased goods are mailed to the intermediary address on the customer’s behalf, and then shipped on to their final destination. As a result, users from outside the United States are able to buy goods online from e-shops that only ship to U.S. postal addresses.

Nova Poshta’s NP Shopping offers just like that. Well, almost.

It buys goods from various U.S. shops like Amazon, eBay, Walmart by itself, charging an additional 7 percent of the cost, and delivers them to Ukraine. While ordering and paying for a delivery, users have to copy the URL address of the product and paste it into a box on Nova Poshta’s website. There isn’t even a requirement to sign in.

As soon as the company receives the customer’s shipment at its U.S. warehouse, it forwards it either to one of its Ukrainian outlets, or to the customer’s own home address by courier. Deliveries are supposed to take five working days or less. Parcels are limited in size to 122 centimeters in length, 102 centimeters in width, and 110 centimeters in height

If the parcel is lost, Nova Poshta promises to refund all costs.

In order to get, say, a gadget from Amazon that costs $100 and weighs 1 kilogram, customers will pay Nova Poshta $113 in total. However, if a product costs more than $165, customs clearance will cost an additional 35 percent of the excess sum. So, for example, an order for an item priced $1,000 and weighing 1 kilogram will cost $1,367.

http://www.kyivpost.com/article/content/technology/nova-poshta-rolls-out-forwarding-service-for-shopping-from-us-online-stores-420397.html

Report: Ukraine’s venture market resumes growth; local startups targeted by global tech giants

Foreign-domestic-investors-Ukraine_2010-2015

venture-investment-volume-ukraine_2010-2015

– After a short-lived decline in 2014, the Ukrainian IT sector demonstrated record growth in 2015. Not only did the market regain its strength, it significantly exceeded the activity level of any previous year, according to UADN’s report.

– The investment market reached an unprecedented $132 million in total volume in 2015, demonstrating a 240% growth from the year before, when the market shortened by over 55%.

– The growth of investment volume in 2015 was mainly the result of three large-growth stage deals, while early-stage investments slightly decreased.

– Startups oriented to the local market are likely to continue facing difficulties connected with the contraction of the Ukrainian economy and its currency fluctuations. However, there are also a number of winners that profit from such market conditions, including leading e-commerce players.

– Globally-oriented startups attracted more investments in 2015. Many of the teams have moved to their primary product markets, raised follow-on funding from international sources, and kept their R&D teams in Ukraine.

– Foreign investors kept interest in the Ukrainian tech sector, making or leading more than 40% of the deals in 2015.

– In 2015, Ukraine saw the trend of well-known foreign companies acquiring domestic startups, offering global products, continue. The year’s largest acquisition was that of the Looksery image-processing app by Snapchat for a reported $150 million.

– Growth-stage deals emerged as a new transaction class, accounting for $100 million of the total investment volume. Among notable new growth-stage investors was George Soros, who promised to commit $1 billion to Ukraine, with the tech sector figuring on his priority investment list.

– The 2014-2015 period was marked by a government push for reforms. The IT sector played a major role in the design and implementation of some of the most widely recognized and successful reforms, including those addressing deregulation and e-government.

http://www.uadn.net/2016/06/29/report-ukraines-venture-market-resumes-growth-local-startups-targeted-by-global-tech-giants/

Ukraine is like a dream for Dutch farmers, says director of DIFCO International

“We (the Dutch farmers – ed.) have the knowledge in agriculture which we can apply here on a big territory. I am a son of a farmer, so for the Dutch farmers Ukraine is like a dream: you have so much very fertile lands, you can improve your production so much and you can really make big steps forward.” Ir. J. H. (René) Kremers says, Difco International director.

The company participated in an annual international exhibition of the innovative solutions in grain business “GrainTechExpo – 2016” which took place in Kyiv this February.

http://euromaidanpress.com/2016/03/15/ukraine-is-like-a-dream-for-the-dutch-farmers-director-of-difco-international/

Ukraine’s Digital Future takes part in YouAppi’s $13.1 million funding round

YouAppi, a San Francisco-based startup that has developed a Big Data-driven solution for mobile marketing, has raised $13.1 million from an international consortium of investors, including Ukraine’s Digital Future.

Also participating in this Series B round are Click Ventures, Emery Capital (Russia), Global Brain (Japan) and Hawk Ventures (USA), Israeli funds Glilot Capital Partners and 2B Angels, as well as AltaIR Capital and Flint Capital, two funds operating essentially from Russia and Israel.

Flint, Glilot and 2B Angels had already put $3 million in YouAppi’s Series A round in October 2014.

The funding will be used to enhance YouAppi’s products and accelerate growth in China, Japan and other growth markets, while moving the company’s headquarters to San Francisco.

Initially based between Israel and New York, the startup also has offices in Beijing, Berlin and London.

Launched in 2012, YouAppi “enables the world’s leading apps to find the right customers at the right conversion price across countries and verticals, based on post-install event analytics.” Its proprietary predictive algorithms can “analyze the usage habits of 1.5 billion users of 3,500 mobile apps and sites.” These include The New York Times, Pandora, EA, Orbitz, Zynga, Yandex, Wayfair, and Viber in 200 countries via 100 billion impressions monthly, the startup claims.

In Asia, YouAppi works with Baidu, UC Union (Alibaba Mobile Business Group), Sungy Mobile, Apus, NewBornTown, Kika and Bandai Namco, as well as global YouAppi clients. The company expects its Chinese revenue to double in 2016 from 10% to 20% of its global revenue.