UKRAINIAN TECH (& FOOD) ROADSHOW
Updated: Nov 18
This is a blog about a technology tour, a restaurant roadshow and business trip of a lifetime.
I am glad to be back home in Johannesburg, South Africa. Had I stayed in Kyiv any longer, I would have had to go up in pants size fairly soon. If you like food, and I am guessing that most of you do, then you need to get to Kyiv. We are an online native business at PYGIO. However, we value human to human time. We spent 1 month touring the Ukrainian tech scene. Almost every day, we were treated by developer teams and new friends, who are building world-altering companies. We visited Kyiv, Kharkiv and Lviv, the 3 main tech hubs in Ukraine which are home to our partner companies. We were busy in October: focus sessions with our partner teams, meeting new businesses in the Cyber sec, AI/ML, Crypto and diving into the startup sphere - and somehow, food is always in the equation. AI and sauna. We even had the luxury of detoxing at a traditional sauna resort called Sobi, while discussing the future of AI (and of course AGI) with a team that is breaking boundaries in human-centric artificial tasks. Once we had wrung our bodies dry of sweat and toxins, we emerged with a clearer view and also so many questions on what purpose-driven AI consulting entails. Then, we had the best Borscht and Uzvar that Ukraine has to offer. I am sold on Borscht.
We also visited a Tech History museum and did the mandatory site-seeing that everyone must do. Ukraine is a country with a depth of heritage and endless historical landmarks, museums and theatres. We had the privilege of being invited to watch Romeo and Juliet Ballet, while discussing the state of Ukrainian software services. We have seen the rising tide of product companies as Venture Capital pours into Ukraine. We found ourselves cheering for the Dynamo Football Club, Kyiv's pride and joy, in their match against Barcelona (we almost had them). We saw the scale and magnitude of Unit City, an innovation park where people can create startups, attend university, live and work. We cycled around one of Kyiv's many beautiful, yellow parks during Autumn in a fleet of IT professionals. Here is a synopsis of the tech companies we visited, as well as the meals we ate with each: Jooble (Kyiv): Jooble is the second largest site in the world, by job placement. Double cheeseburger at Oxota Na Ovets 4ire Labs (Kyiv): DeFi and Fintech software outsourcing firm focusing on Crypto space. Prawn tacos at JZL DataRoot Labs (Kyiv): Data Science and Consulting company, working for startups to create AI-led systems Traditional Sauna and Borscht at Sobi Resort Preste.ai (Kyiv): ML and Data Science consulting, focussed on Computer Vision, NLP Predictive Analysis and Recommender Systems. Parma and rocket pizza at Italian Edition
AVentures Capital (Kyiv): The fund invests in early stage startups as well as advises IT businesses across all stages and other funds on strategy and execution. Brioche hotdogs and pistachio croissants at Kyiv Food Market Cyber Unit Tech (Kyiv):
Guiding organisations to digital innovation and improved performance using strategic cyber security. Khachapuri at Mama Manana, this meal re-defined Georgian food as my favourite cuisine Netpeak (Kharkiv): Performance marketing agency helping businesses with SEO and PPC. Beef tongue at Jörd in Kharkiv SupportYourApp (Kyiv):
Helping Unicorns scale with omni-channel support. Modern Chinese at BOA KindGeek (Lviv): Nearshore software development Polish herring and gafilte fish at Baczewski Caer Sidi (Kyiv): Never lose a lead again with e-card Eel poke bowl at Fish&Pussycat Sayenko Kharenko (Kyiv): The leading law firm in Ukraine and Eastern Europe Smash burger at Brooklyn Mimosa Burger The highlight of our roadshow was of course our partners, who are the champions of PYGIO.com. We spent most of our time with: ITernal (Kyiv, Kharkiv): Complex software solutions