Ukrainian Tech Ecosystem Achievements 2021: Greencubator
What are the key achievements of 2021?
2021 has certainly become a turning point for Ukrainian cleantech and for greencubator as an ecosystem organization. And there are three key growth points we see: investments, scaling, education and acceleration.
We were privileged to witness the birth and provide support to a number of the cleantech ventures that announced raising capital this year. Happy to celebrate the successes of Ukrainian sustainability-focused startups that got invested this year:
- ABB investment into GO TO-U rocked the community! Go To-U, the alums of greencubator’s managed ClimateLaunchpad and Climate Innovation Vouchers projects took about 4 years to build the company from the first pitch (and climbing the tree to get better 3G reception) to landing the term sheet from one of the global giants of energy solutions.
- Investment into The Good Plastic Company, one of the Climate Innovation Vouchers winners, by Andriy Fedoriv and the founders of Nova Poshta.
- USD 0,5 million investment into Effa, creator of biodegradable toothbrushes and other hygiene products (invested by an undisclosed business angel)
- USD 3,4 million raised by e-bikes developer and manufacturer Delfast via the crowd-investment platform (Delfast is another winner of the Climate Innovation Vouchers)
There were also a number of grants and awards won by the Ukrainian cleantech ventures from the Ukrainian Startup Fund, CRDF Global, Startup Wise Guys, and others. Among the winners were Carbominer, Effa, Atmosphere, VGreen – all Greencubator alums.
- One of the significant achievements of Ukrainian cleantech ecosystems is scaling into the region. The Climate Innovation Voucher project, which was launched in 2017 by the EBRD and funded by the EU, in 2021 entered a new phase and is now supporting green SMEs in Ukraine and Belarus. As the project manager for the Climate Innovation Vouchers, the region’s largest grant program for cleantech ventures, we are happy to work together with our consortium partner CIVITTA.
- We have finished the feasibility study for climate innovations support programs in Georgia and will be finishing the Eastern Partnership cleantech market study in early 2022. Such market studies help discover a lot of new cleantech talents in the EaP countries. Ukraine remains our home, but we are also starting to serve climate innovators across the region.
- Another significant “across the border” project of 2021 was managing the regional final for ClimateLaunchpad, the world’s largest green business ideas competition. We have organized the regional final for green entrepreneurs from 12 countries, from Moldova to Pakistan, from Ukraine to Israel. And we liked the result!
- We have just launched a pilot cohort of Greencubator.Academy intended to bridge the language barrier for would-be green entrepreneurs that are not comfortable with English-language programs. Greencubator.Academy is a combination of online courses + pre-acceleration program. With it, we intend to at least 5x the number of climate innovators we serve as well as the annual number of new green ventures launched.
- We are also pushing the acceleration beyond green startups and into communities. The Energy Cooperatives project funded by the USAID Energy Security Project was launched earlier this year. It will provide training courses for the creators of energy cooperatives as well as a coops-focused acceleration program in collaboration with LvBS and OUM.
Which challenges were the most impactful during the year?
- Everybody felt an impact (and fallout) of the COVID-19 pandemic, wish is also a challenge for the green innovations sector, with many projects delayed and some contracts canceled. Anyway, we do look forward to the “new normal” with pandemics taken under control globally. It would certainly be different from pre-pandemics times, but also it will foster innovations.
- Organisation-wise, one of the serious challenges was the switch to online education and remote. So we’ve decided to embrace this challenge as the reason to launch Greencubator.Academy.
- We had a bit rocky beginning of the year, had some changes in the team, and are really proud of the new talents that have joined Greеncubator’s team this year.
How will Ukrainian tech be developing? Approach, projections and perspectives for 2022?
- 2022 has the potential of dynamic growth for the UA cleantech ecosystem. We expected more deep-tech startups and science-based innovations, and material world innovations would be coming into life faster.
- A lot of talent will be inspired and attracted to space-focused startups, and the ecosystem will also grow around that. There will be a lot of intersections of space and climate-focused innovations.
- The global trend for financing cleantech innovations, and for corporates getting into the cleantech game would become more visible (and sometimes present) in Ukraine. We don’t expect the local capital market to start booming in terms of cleantech deals, but we hope that many Ukrainian startups will be riding the global wave of sustainable and green innovations.
- The capital availability for sustainable innovations will certainly grow globally, and there might be some investments spillover into our region. The corporates would be pouring more money into the clean technologies and investment vehicles dedicated to sustainability. There might also be some unexpected alliances between the market players and some new big deals.
- Domestically the key shaping factors for the green innovations will be the CBAM (Carbon Borger Adjustment Mechanism) on the negative side and some opportunities arising from the EU Green Deal on the positive side. They will be fueling adopting green innovations in Ukraine along with skyrocketing natural gas prices. So the local market for green innovations would gradually develop but slower than the global one.
NGO Greencubator is an ecosystem organization for sustainable entrepreneurship, low-carbon innovations and green economy development in Ukraine and Eastern Europe. Greencubator offers a platform for connecting energy talents and driving green entrepreneurship. For Ukraine’s green startups, social enterprises and sustainable innovators Greencubator opens business development, networking and investment opportunities. We also build energy and sustainability awareness by educating the society and the media about green economy opportunities and low-carbon innovations.