6 Most Successful Startups from Ukraine and Russia

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The Startup business is the modern way to convert a long-range idea into a lucrative and challenging project. A huge success for entrepreneurs occurs when their business ideas develop into significant international enterprises. So, in this article let’s review some of the recent successes among Ukrainian and Russian startups.

Start up concept
Start up concept

 

Clikky

Clikky” is a special platform for mobile applications’ strategies for advertisement, promotion, and monetization. It connects creators of mobile apps who want to attract users from all over the world with sources or websites that already have lots of users. Clikky was found in 2010 by Vadim Rogovskii from Odessa (Ukraine). Among Clikky’s clients are e-commerce giants such as Amazon, Alibaba, Uber, and Yandex.

 

targeting advertisement
targeting advertisement – illustrative photo

 

Most of the profits come from Europe, the USA, India, China, and Israel. In 2017 profits reached a level greater than $ 15 mln annually. Interestingly, as a key advantage of his startup, the founder chose a payment plan by installment, not by impressions and clicks. The platform provides 1 billion video and display ad impressions per day and 5 million mobile application installations per month. In total, Clikky conducts more than 30 000 ad campaigns daily.

According to Vadim Rogovskii, Clikky’s under-30 founder, the company’s headquarters consists of 90 people and is located in his native city of Odessa – “It is important to create opportunities for employees to earn more than the average salary in Ukraine and feel comfortable and happy”.  The young entrepreneur, in a recent interview with Forbes, also claimed, ”For tech companies looking to save on running a research and development office, engaging talent from Ukraine is a smart solution. The influx of established companies, the pool of professionals and significantly lower hourly rates compared to the U.S. make this country an excellent choice for a location.”

 

Petcube 

The next successful project is “Petcube” – a Ukrainian company that produces gadgets for pet owners. Petcube’s device allows owners to look for, communicate, and play with pets via a mobile app and the Internet.

 

French bulldock puppy
French bulldock puppy – illustrative photo

 

It consists of a camera, a laser pointer, a microphone, and a speaker. The company was founded in 2012 by three friends. They tried to find a way to entertain their pets when they were at home alone.  Using the crowdfunding system on Kickstarter, they managed to accumulate $ 251 000. In 2014 this startup won the European competition as “The best hardware startup”. “Petcube has won some significant awards before, but we hope that this victory will inspire other Ukrainian entrepreneurs to have bigger ambitions, work harder and bring great ideas to life,” Andrey Klen, COO and co-founder of Petcube, shared with us.

 

Preply

Preply” is known around the world as a modern, online educational platform that matches students and tutors. It endeavors to find either local tutors/teachers or teachers from other countries and does so with just a few clicks.  In 2012, three friends from Ukraine launched a startup that now consists of 25000 tutors and 100000 students. Since 2012, Preply has raised almost $16 mln in additional capital. Most of the funds came with the help of crowdfunding or business angels such as Arthur Kosten (co-founder of Booking.com), and Mariusz Gralewski (co-founder of DocPlanner).

 

students and tutors online
students and tutors online – illustrative photo

 

In 2019 Preply conducted research among users of platforms and found that 2/3 of all learners preferred speaking with the tutor to regular book-structured lessons. Preply’s customized approach, affordable prices, and online lessons help to generate a high level of users’ satisfaction.

According to Kirill Bigai, co-founder and CEO, “Preply.com also helps teachers, whether they are self-employed, part-time or full-time employees, find new students and create lifelong learning processes. Preply.com is in step in the transformation of work: our tutors are able to teach more specialized and fragmented skills. We truly believe that continuous improvement can help anyone find their role in the modern economy.”

 

LinguaLeo

Another quite worthwhile startup in the sphere of education is from Russia. The name of it is “LinguaLeo” – an entertaining resource for learning basic English designed for both children and adults. LinguaLeo allows participants to create an individual training program with adjustments for the specific user. It also offers participants the option of studying additional materials in the form of films, music, and books.  For greater functionality of the service, extensions for browsers are available. They allow participants to translate unfamiliar words on web pages. Also, they can be added to dictionaries and studied in greater detail during training.

 

learning basic English
learning basic English – illustrative photo

 

Since its founding in 2010 this project has raised $ 3,2 mln. Almost half of it has been invested in modification and improvement. This is one of the biggest and most popular educational online projects in Russia, with 6 mln users from 7,2 mln online learners in the local market in total.

LinguaLeo has made a big contribution to increasing the number of students who can afford private English learning lessons. According to the service itself, LinguaLeo has 10.5 million registered users with more than 5.6 million application installations.

 

Dauria 

One of the most ambitious startups in Russia focuses on space exploration. The privately held producer of space satellites – Dauria Aerospace – was set up in 2012 by Mikhail Kokorich (ex-owner of a household appliance network). The company is engaged in creating small spacecraft (satellites) and the sale of components for them. Dauria has collaborated with Roscosmos by fulfilling state orders for the production of two CubeSat standard satellites and a universal means of accommodation and separation (launch containers). Dauria is one of the first Russian private organizations that has been able to launch private satellites into the Earth’s orbit.

 

space exploration
space exploration – illustrative photo

 

In 2015, Cybernaut, a Chinese investment fund, invested in the development of the project, which gave the company $ 70 million, with the ultimate goal of tracking the life of one of the largest cities in the world. Although now Dauria Aerospace is in a disagreement with Roscosmos, the company has made history as a developer of small and cheap satellites.

 

Revolut

One of the most promising sectors for startups is in finance and banking. The ability to change currency at a favorable rate through a mobile bank is in great demand. Although the headquarters of “Revolut” is located in London, the two founders of this startup are both from Russia. Due to the sanctions imposed against Russia in 2014, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology graduate Nikolai Storonsky and Deutsche Bank employee Vladislav Yatsenko moved to London in 2015 and launched the most noted banking startup in recent years.

The young entrepreneurs invented a credit card that you can use to make payments all around the world at the interbank rate. Onre card links more than 150 accounts in different currencies. It allows you to pay without commission or losses on exchange rates. Expanding into the Russian market hasn’t happened since the main competitor – Tinkoff Bank – has implemented a similar service albeit with only 30 currencies.

 

change currency changer
change currency changer – illustrative photo

 

In an interview with “The Guardian” Mr. Yatsenko said: “There are competitors doing something similar, but we’re different because Revolut was built mobile from the first. Secondly, we are focused on being frictionless from the sign-up process to exchanging currency and transferring money…Customers no longer have to worry about pre-purchasing currency for travel. Money without borders is here as far as Revolut customers are concerned.”

According to the official website, Revolut now consists of 10 mln users and is going to hire around 3,500 additional staff as it grows into 24 new markets owing to a new global deal with Visa. In early 2020, Revolut was acknowledged as the UK’s most valuable financial technology startup. In 2018 its revenue reached more than £ 58 mln. This startup helps us to feel comfortable in any country with one card. Revolut spares our money and nerves from the aggravation of exchanging currencies.

 

As we can see, it is quite possible to start a business even without lots of money or seed capital. If you have a good idea that responds to real demand and fills a gap in the market, you can find support in various startup accelerators and raise investment capital by crowdfunding or business angels.

 

Check out the stories behind 5 Most Successful Start-up Stories in Europe.

Photos: Shutterstock

 

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