Op-ed: Ukrainian Startups. Investment Not Charity


Blue Lake Founding Partner David Gilgur highlights the increasing frequency and ticket sizes of later-stage investments in Ukrainian startups and urges investors not to overlook the early-stage gems.

As a Ukrainian living in the UK, I am inspired by the support demonstrated by the British people. As a VC I cannot say quite the same about my industry.

The prevailing attitude is the one where Ukrainian startups are admired for their tenacity but dismissed out of hand as a credible investment opportunity. The reflexive reaction of most VCs to the subject of Ukraine is to write a cheque to a charity, and not to a Ukrainian founder.

Biases in the investment industry are nothing new, but this one is particularly harmful at this critical time. A forever optimist, I’m hopeful that this bias is simply the result of some common misconceptions when it comes to Ukrainian startup investments and nothing more.

If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to dispel some of these falsehoods.

”Investing in Ukrainian founders now is one of those rare and genuine opportunities the VC community so often speaks of: the chance to deliver impact, returns to LPs, and make a REAL difference in the world. If that isn’t a win/win situation, I don’t know what is.”

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Come Back Alive is one of the largest charitable foundations that supports Ukrainian soldiers, founded by the IT specialist Vitaliy Deynega. The organization collected more than 210 million UAH (more than $7M) in 2014. According to Na chasi, the Patreon page Come Back Alive is in the top ten projects by the number of financial donations.


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