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Sigma Software Labs: A Year of innovation, collaboration, and triumphs

Holiday season is the perfect time to reflect on the achievements and milestones we’ve reached together. Finishing 2023 chapter of challenges and victories that we powered with new collaborations and promising ideas. Join us as we take a detailed look at the highs and breakthroughs defining our year.

Investment ventures: fueling new starships

This year Labs’ as a corporate venture, was marked among the most active investors in Ukraine. We were always focused on companies with global focus, so our strategic vision hasn’t changed in recent years. Thus, 2023 finished with several new companies in portfolio:  

GeekPay – all-in-one platform to streamline and secure batch payments in digital currencies to gig workers. Veronika Korzh, CEO and co-founder, was listed in the Women in Web3 Changemakers List for her input to the growing recognition of women leaders in the tech space.

INPUT SOFT – web-based platform revolutionizing airport and airline operations management. Backed by Techstars alumni with 20+ years of founders’ combined background in aviation, piloted successfully in Ukrainian airports pre-2022 and are now actively implementing PoC in the USA, Chile, Lithuania, and Georgia. Anastasia Smyk, CEO and co-founder, listed in Forbes 30 under 30 Chicago for her remarkable contributions.

DOVKOLO Club – local services recommendation platform for Ukrainians, who are living abroad. AI-based recommendations from the app help users choose necessary service providers and find useful information about the work of the local services. From car repairs to healthcare, DOVKOLO Club simplifies the challenges of settling into a new environment. 

AiSDR – revolutionary Ukrainian startup building AI-powered sales automation. Founded by the dynamic duo Yuriy Zaremba and Oleg Zaremba, team secured an impressive $3Min the latest funding round from Y Combinator, Rebel Fund, Pioneer Fund, Bluepointe Ventures, UA-backed VCs — SID Venture Partners & Flyer One Ventures and others.

As for now, we boast a portfolio of 18 companies and actively support each to create the maximum value with our resources and network. No stops, so scouting even more teams and welcoming promising ventures onboard in 2024.

Power of synergy: community matters

Our commitment to community-driven approach remains unchanged. Looking back on the past year, we are proud of how strong and connected is the network we built around all of our activities: entrepreneurs and tech leaders, VCs and accelerators, dedicated media and leading companies – all together driving a year of shared success.

Labs’ collaborations extended beyond borders. From supporting the Plast camp in Sweden to partnering with Polish-Ukrainian Startup Bridge for the Ukrainian Startup Ecosystem Report, we actively contributed to initiatives shaping the global startup landscape.

This year we engaged in over 20 events in total, both online and offline, hosted some of them right at our Kyiv and Lviv offices, providing a space for community connection. Our team stepped in as organizers, partners, speakers, mentors, judges, and participants. We also joined the Techosystem community to collaborate with other investment funds and startups. Contributing, supporting and inspiring.

One of the major highlights is our involvement in the IT Arena – Ukraine’s major tech event, gathering 3364 attendees, 988 startups, 800 speakers, and over 700 hours of networking. We partnered with the Startup Competition track and had our Investment Director, Daria Yaniieva, joining the main conference program as speaker. Side program included several dedicated meetups with our partners and star founders.

IT Arena meetup by Sigma Software Labs, Ukrainian Startup Fund, and SET University, Oct 1st, 2023

UNICORN Startup Contest became another milestone of 2023 journey. For 8 years in a row, we have been holding the IT_EUREKA startup competition, which received a bronze award in the Corporate Engagement Awards category of Communicate magazine. In 2023, we rebranded IT_EUREKA and created UNICORN, which now unites a record number of 130 teams from around the world. It was more than just a competition – opening 50+ free learning sessions with mentors, Crash Test and several pitching opportunities for brave teams, alongside a hundred new contacts. But it’s not solely about figures – it’s about testing your limits, accelerating growth and generating new opportunities. This year Ukrainian Startup Fund and SID Venture Partners joined us as a co-organizer, and we got amazing support from 12 more partners, like the Ministry of Digital Transformation and top tech media in Ukraine. The total prize fund included $8,500 in no-equity grants and non-cash rewards over $10,000, providing a real boost for young teams.

UNICORN Startup Contest final Demo Day, Dec 7th, 2023

Looking ahead to 2024, our plans are ambitious. We aim to deepen our engagement in community-driven projects by expanding our partnerships, hosting more events for building bridges within our community, and making UNICORN as #1 program for UA-backed early-stage tech startups.

Global Engagements: making waves worldwide

We have always been active in terms of global presence, but now it is even more important to maintain connections all over the world. This year, we joined tech events with more than 110,000 attendees worldwide, showcasing our ecosystem to the international tech community. Among them are Our Crowd Investor Summit in Jerusalem, GITEX Africa in Morocco, VC Leaders conference in Poland, the 10th anniversary season of London Tech Week, major tech gathering in EU – Web Summit in Lisbon, and more. Opening new markets, promoting brave tech solutions.

But we didn’t make it solely by our team. All Labs’ portfolio startups continue their operations, successfully closing other funding rounds and attracting new customers from different markets. Datuum and Finmap made a splash at Web Summit as part of the UA delegation. And the GeekPay team pitched in Lisbon among the top 100 startups out of 2500+ participants. Ukrainian products presented at London Tech Week also included two of Labs’ starships – Datrics and Finmap. Besides events, we were building bridges between ecosystems. Early October, we presented the Luxembourg edition of the Ukraine Innovation Guide, which aims to unlock the enormous potential of the Ukrainian ecosystem. 

Ukrainian delegation at London Tech Week, June 2023

Team matters, thus this year marked efforts of our founders: Veronika Korzh, CEO and co-founder at Geek Pay, has been nominated to the Women in Web3 Changemakers list. Forbes 30 under 30 Chicago list marked Anastasia Smyk, CEO and co-founder at INPUT SOFT, for her input. Oleg Zaremba Co-founder of AiSDR, has twice created startups that have been selected for the Y Combinator accelerator in the United States and was included in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in Ukraine. 

Many of our activities resulted in dedicated mentions by tech media in the UK, Poland, Sweden, and many other European news. Now, it’s extremely important to continue proving Ukraine’s tech potential in the international innovation landscape.

2024: Elevating achievements to new orbit 

In the vibrant landscape of 2024, our sights are set on making every achievement even more extraordinary. Our mission involves amplifying our global impact, sharing the stories of our startups with a wider array of media outlets, launching an even more spectacular UNICORN competition, and exploring novel conferences to attend. We aspire to broaden our community, fostering the growth of startups from ideation to realizing their dreams.

Let unicorn happen!