Staying faithful is what was important in 2022. Faithful to principles, ideas, strategies. It was a difficult year for us indeed, as for everyone else. We started the year with big plans. And we had to stop for a little bit when the war started. After that like everyone, we returned to the business with new strength – to prove that Ukrainian IT is hard to crack. We adjusted the tactics, but did not change a long-term strategy with the main goal to create an ecosystem for startups and young businesses.
Despite the war, we got new investment achievements. In a couple of months after the war started, we announced a new portfolio company – Coaty. The solution was powered by three Sigma Software developers. They launched a metaverse solution using NFT with a main idea to allow brands to attract new customers and provide effective advertising through the gaming component.
Moreover, our first portfolio company Datrics made a huge success during the year. In August, the NEAR Foundation stepped in with a strategic investment to jointly power the growth of the data-driven ecosystem powered by Datrics technology. The purpose of the partnership was to accelerate the growth and expansion of analytical solutions in Web3 and the NEAR ecosystem in particular.
Datrics made a path from the first investment case from Sigma Software Labs up to the essential part of the venture history of the company at all. Together with Datrics’ founders, our venture got new iterations. In December 2021, we even jointly launched SID Venture Partners fund, combining expertise and knowledge in different domains to provide our portfolio with even more specific help.
Whatever happened, the strategy of Sigma Software Labs never changed and we continued to cultivate new projects and ideas. Therefore, in addition to current projects and investments, we were focused on finding and helping new creative startups. So, as part of the #StandwithUkraine program, in March, we provided free consultations for young companies by request regarding the general assessment of the startup, assistance in improving the pitch deck, high-quality completion of the application to the accelerator, evaluation of the fundraising strategy, and assistance in the selection of accelerators and investors. We received almost 30 applications from teams and provided 20+ mentoring hours for free іn order to save startups – any Ukrainian IT startups, not only under our mentorship. Thereby, we conducted consultations with the best industry experts to help adjust their strategies as quickly as possible and as efficiently as possible.
In August 2022, Sigma Software and Tech Nation launched the Hack for Peace project – to create technological solutions aimed at solving the problems of war. We invited startups, advanced coders, professional entrepreneurs, mentors, and investors to create innovative products to support peace. The event was held in October and covered 5 countries: Ukraine, the UK, Sweden, Poland, and Portugal. Sigma Software Labs representatives acted in the team mentor role and as jury members. As a result, 3 competing teams received prizes in the amount of EUR 5,000 each.
In summer we started collecting applications for the international season of IT_EUREKA. For several years in a row, the competition has been held with the support of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine. We are also sincerely grateful to the partners of the competition, and especially to the long-term support of the Polish-Ukrainian Startup Bridge. In Season-2022, we received more than 100 applications for participation in the competition, a third of which were international. During the whole autumn, experts in different fields from different countries held a series of lectures for startups. Mentors provided knowledge necessary for launching and developing startups, including in times of crisis. The new program took into account wartime in Ukraine and provided guidelines for flexibility, given the unstable investment market. In December, the finals of IT_EUREKA took place. Phygit project became the winner and received 3,000 EUR as a no-equity grant.
In 2022, despite the war, we did our best to keep fingers on the pulse and had a year full of events. We became partners of many ecosystem initiatives both in Ukraine and abroad. Last year we were a full-fledged partner of the Ukrainian technological ecosystem pavilion at the largest tech conference in Europe – Web Summit. It was the second year in a row that Ukraine was represented with a national stand. The scale of the event was truly impressive: Ukraine’s technological ecosystem included dozens of VC funds, tech services and products companies, government institutions, and local ecosystem organizations. And the Ukrainian delegation of startups shone bright on that canvas with 70+ teams, which is three times more than in 2021. The country’s stand was almost 10 times larger than last year – and that was during the war. Sigma Software Labs and SID Venture Partners jointly invested in 12 of the presented startups.
Aiming to visit Web Summit, tens of thousands of founders, investors, representatives of global companies, and so on gathered in Lisbon, capital of Portugal. It was the perfect venue for our own event as part of the Summit’s side events. So on October 26, we welcomed guests at TechBuzz Unwrapping Investor’s Mindset meetup. Gathering speakers with both a strong IT and investments background helped to make a lively discussion with the audience and share insights from investor points of view.
Meanwhile in Ukraine, 70 teams gathered for the Startup Competition at IT Arena 2022. Ten of the teams got to the final round on the stage at the Lviv National Opera. One of the finalists got our special prize – the possibility of a 6-month residency in the Kyiv office of Sigma Software. We chose Input Soft, the company worksing on a SaaS platform to optimize the use of human and technical resources and data analysis in airports.
In December, an extraordinary Ukrainian Startups Demo Day took place, during which 14 Ukrainian startups presented their projects. The main prize of 10,000 zlotys (about $2,200) went to the Biolity Robotics team. The startup has created an algorithm based on artificial intelligence (AI) that speeds up the process of micropropagation (a biological method of creating copies of scarce plants) by 2,000%. Daria Yaniieva, Investment Director at Sigma Software Labs, acted as a member of the competition jury.
In 2022, we didn’t stop for a minute. What are we planning next? Scale up and enter new orbits once again. We truly know the potential of the Ukrainian startup ecosystem. So we set the goal of continuous ecosystem improvement and the creation of new opportunities despite all the challenges. We received tremendous support in 2022 and are going to use it for Ukrainian IT sector development. Follow us to get the best about startups and become the first to learn cool news from the high-tech space.