Which Ukrainian Pitches attract investments?

If you google “examples of best startup pitches” or “great pitching,” you will get a lot of articles containing presentations of huge products like Facebook, Airbnb, Foursquare, Sequoia Capital, etc. 

There are very few examples of good modern startup pitches. For some reason, students’ presentations are not posted on websites and YouTube of well-known start-up schools like Y Combinator. And even fewer videos on YouTube with Ukrainian teams. Don’t Ukrainians make good presentations for investors or incubators? Of course, they do, and I want to give examples.

My name is Daria Volkova, and I’m a business and brand strategist. I have worked with fintech & blockchain products, mentored startups, and now advise IT teams on marketing and brand strategy. 

The criteria by which I rate pitches relate to the overall impression, namely:

  • Finding the client’s pain and the proposed solution
  • Estimates of project opportunities in the selected market, an objective SWOT analysis
  • Pitch anchor — a feature that will help to stand out from other participants
  • The structure and design of the presentation
  • Speaker — answers to jury questions, emotional state, energy & vibe

I don’t measure pitching success by financial indicators, since I don’t have access to the full financial data of startups that they send along with their pitch decks. Project presentation is, first of all, performance and the ability to convey information in short 3-5-10 minutes.

I have placed projects in a random order, with no rating or rank. So, let’s go to my list:

Mosqitter at IT Arena 2021

Mosqitter is a hardware and software solution to protect from mosquitoes. Mosqitter’s mission is to help humanity to make the Earth more ecological and safe by reducing usage of insecticides and chemicals.

What’s good in this pitching: 

  • Before talking about herself, Anastasia shared the results of their work and warmly greeted the audience. This looks very nice, because the project and the audience come to the fore, and only then the founder.
  • The presentation is very dynamic and does not let you get bored.
  • Anastasia gave very clear answers and there was a feeling of complete involvement in the project, knowledge of the smallest details.
  • Anastasia was wearing a branded T-shirt with a logo. This is such an easy way to highlight uniqueness and be remembered with branding. Why are so few projects using it?

Zeely at IT Arena 2021

Zeely is an AI—powered platform that enables smartphone users to promote their businesses online.

What’s good in this pitching: 

  • A very dynamic start. Alina, the COO of the project, shared her energy.
  • The excellent marketing component of the Zeely project is immediately apparent. Bright presentation design and excellent knowledge of the market — isn’t it lovely?
  • I liked the selection of the first markets — Africa, India. These are the regions that have a huge number of micro-entrepreneurs who don’t have access to laptops and the classic way of developing websites.
  • The project solves not only the issue of web design but the content. It is sometimes difficult for people who create their own sites to come up with a selling text. Zeely helps them with this.

Legal Nodes at IT Arena 2019

Legal Nodes is the ultimate legal assistant for tech companies that helps to define their pressing legal needs and then matches with the most suitable legal providers from the marketplace that aggregates tech-savvy legal professionals globally. 

What’s good in this pitching: 

  • The speech of Margarita began with a description of the problem — lawyers are forced to devote up to 40% of their working time to solving non-legal issues. That’s why the cost of attracting clients for lawyers is very high. And their services too. 
  • Very good market knowledge.
  • Confident presentation and brilliant English.
  • The answers to the questions are clear and complete.

HackenAI on USF Pitch Day 2020

Mobile application for personal cybersecurity. HackenAI combines the most essential cybersecurity tools, such as password manager, monitoring of compromised accounts, two-factor authentication, VPN, secure storage, anti-phishing and more. 

What’s good in this pitching: 

  • It is always more difficult to present a project online than live — there is no feeling of the audience and you don’t see people’s eyes. However, Dmitry from Haken managed to describe his project perfectly.
  • Phishing and hacker attacks are a daily routine for cybersecurity professionals. But for ordinary people and businesses, this is a real threat to lose valuable data and money. 
  • The attractive design of the presentation should be noted. This is very important for the online format.

AXDRAFT at IT Arena 2018

AXDRAFT is AI-driven document automation, which allows you to draft a perfect document every time in 3.7 minutes on average. The problem comes  from Yuriy’s experience as a lawyer, when he wasted tons of time on copy/paste and proofreading mistakes.

What’s good in this pitching: 

  • The general impression of Yuri’s presentation is very positive. A smile, good jokes, contact with the audience — years of working as a lawyer and communicating with people gave a good result.
  • Like previous projects on this list, the team has excellent market knowledge and extensive training in incubation programs and start-up schools.
  • In 2018, legal tech AI-based solutions were not yet as popular as they are now. That is, AXDRAFT was one of the first in Ukraine to make such a product.

Effa on WebSummit 2021

A company that uses biodegradable and recyclable materials for the production of hygiene products. The first product was a toothbrush, which the startup sells to hotels and airlines. At the WebSummit 2021, in front of tens of thousands of people, the razor was presented.

Unfortunately, I could not find a complete video recording of Dasha’s speech in open sources.

However, what I saw suggests that Effa opened a new era for Ukrainian startups. Despite the enormous pressure from the media and the exciting moment, Dasha presented the product confidently. You can’t think of a better thing — to announce the release of the new product on the world stage!

Author – Daria Volkova, business and brand strategist. The main fields are fintech, legal tech, education, health & beauty. 

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