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Ukraine Investment Consortium Meets in New York.

Updated: Jul 27, 2023

New York – July 13. Altru Institute’s Ukraine Project in partnership with Ukraine Venture Capital Association and Ukraine Business News, held its second meeting of Ukraine Investment Consortium part of its ongoing effort to bring together leading organizations focused on the future of Ukraine.

Held at the offices of international law firm Orrick, it was a distinctive gathering of talented and diverse business leaders with mutual interest in Ukraine. Tasty finger foods and drinks helped set the warm and informative tone for the event.

In the audience were international investment funds. Blackrock, Broadline Capital, Siguler Guff and technology firms Secreliant, Aris Data, and Curaleaf, who joined such groups as US-Ukraine Business Council to hear presentations by organizations actively engaged in the future of Ukraine. The Consortium mission is to foster collaboration of Western Investment into the country. Th e format of its meetings are short presentations followed by networking.

Opening remarks from Andrey Kolyoduk, UVCA chairman, described the work his organization has been doing to highlight the importance of investing in Ukraine at this time and the potential for investors who begin to lay the groundwork now despite the conflict. He described Ukraine is both the ingenuity and the engineering hub of Eastern Europe, and compared Ukraine’s risk profile to that of Israel, where business has been able to proceed and even flourish despite real but contained risk. Later in the session a short video presentation was made to describe a new venture platform created by the UVCA to provide a global platform for investors to see opportunities in early-stage Ukrainian companies.

Andrew Pryma who spoke from UBN offices in Kyiv discussed what the current situation in Kyiv and that despite the challenges, the city is functioning and opportunities. He offered insights into the critical role of finding local trusted associates, the importance of getting in now and the bright future he sees for the country and its ability to overcome the corruption obstacle. Pryma, who was born in Ukraine but graduated from Case Western and worked in New York Real Estate and banking is focused on opportunities in real estate and will be hosting a talk on Real Estate investment during his visit to the New York September 6th which is the next Consortium meeting.

Denys Gurak offered a compelling insight into Ukraine’s history as a technology center and where Sputnik and many other advanced technologies from USSR emanated. He cited the example of Sikorsky, a Ukrainian who emigrated to the US and invented helicopters. Gurak described the Ukraine-focused Blue Yellow fund launched by ff Venture Capital, an NYC-based early-stage investor to help fund what he described as “thousands of extremely promising technology companies”. Gurak founded biotech startup A.D.A.M. in part to demonstrate their technological capacity. His 3D printing firm prints bone implants and recently partnered with Mt. Sinai hospital in New York.

Svitlana Malovana introduced her company, Teampulse, born during COVID to address shifting workplace morale and productivity issues using a Software as a Service (SAAS) platform. Teampulse employs mobility challenges and in-app teambuilding exercises to make verifiable productivity improvements to a growing customer base, and currently has 10 companies signed on with 1500 active users and a 62% retention rate the firm is on a trajectory to 32,000 users in 2023. Currently raising capital to fund marketing.

Sergey Kraytman, Managing Director at Goldman Sachs, gave attendees a brief overview of his work as Vice Chairman of the Board for Grand Founders, a legacy-focused investment network established one year ago to help build an economically resilient Ukraine. The rapidly growing organization has attracted leading fund managers and its members in aggregate oversee $900 bn in portfolio assets. The group raises capital to provide grants to founders and (to date $75k) in their first year, invested more than $100k in entrepreneur training programs.

Yevgeny Simkin, co-Founder and CEO of Samizdat Online presented a solution to get around the Internet censorship practiced by autocrats. The former CBS News engineer invented a way for citizens in such places as Russia and Iran to circulate information without needing to use VPN (virtual private Network). Published in 5 languages each day it puts out stories that otherwise can’t be seen by people in Russia and the parts of Ukraine that Russia controls. Samizdat is positioned for rapid growth hampered only by the bandwidth limitation of its servers. 75 media partners with an aggregated reach of over 50 million readers are keen to promote this service once they secure funding to build out the capacity to handle this level of traffic. Currently raising capital to fund server capacity.

Wrapping up the session was a talk by Stanislav Kucher, who at one time was among the most famous Russian Journalists He described about his rapid rise as journalist in Moscow as an insider interviewing world leaders including Putin and A-list entertainers first in Russia then globally prior to his exile to Ukraine for his criticism of Putin’s policies restricting journalists. He discussed the opportunity for a media enterprise to track the explosive growth and emergence of Ukraine and the potential for a new initiative, the Ukraine Investment Monitor which will track who is investing what where and why in Ukraine via partnerships with Samizdat and other media relationships.

To learn more about the Altru Ukraine Project.


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