IT Arena 2022: Ukraine 3.0: Brave. Resilient. Digital

The Lviv IT Cluster team has created quite a stir with the major tech event in Ukraine in times of war – IT Arena, one of Eastern Europe’s fastest-growing tech conferences, annually bringing together companies from over 40 countries. 

IT Arena 2022 gathered almost 1000 participants, the world acknowledged experts, charity foundations, and a bunch of ambitious Ukrainian startups demonstrating Ukraine’s resilience and advancement in tech. The conference became the largest gathering of tech industry leaders, experts, and all those dedicated to shaping the digital future of Ukraine, a country facing unique challenges and building unique solutions.

These days, history is making, and you are a part of it. Brave, resilient, digital – Ukraine will prevail!

Brave. Resilient. Digital

This year’s event is themed “Ukraine 3.0: Brave. Resilient. Digital” and was held in person in revitalized factory !FEST Republic and in the iconic Lviv National Theatre of Opera and Ballet (both venues comply with the safety requirements; two air raid sirens during conference) to show the strength and resilience of Ukraine in Innovations, UAV, cybersecurity, aerospace, as well as government initiatives, charity funds & projects.

The IT Arena’s main theme revolved around:

  • How the tech industry can support the country in these turbulent times
  • The future of military tech
  • Insights on modern cyber tactics, and much more

Despite unprecedented challenges around the country all of us came together to network, learn about the latest advancements in tech and support Ukraine.

Day 1: Startup Competition

The first day of the conference started at the revitalized factory iFest with a spacious yard and territory around, and the main – safe and comfortable spot for pitches and networking. 

Last year winner Olga Diachuk, COO at Mosqitter, started the event with talk about hardware challenges during the war: the growth of the team in wartime and how Mosqitter sent their new device to the frontline.

28 Ukrainian early-stage startups presented their projects, ideas, and solutions, and competed for the prize fund that equals $335,000. Some were better than others, and this is how the competition works. Also, startups had a chance to meet with mentors and discuss challenges in building sustainable businesses.

Finalists of Startup Competition

According to the jury, which included Dmytro Kuzmenko, CEO at UVCA, Joachim Laqueur, General Partner at Acrobator Ventures, Ramon Vigdor, General Partner and co-founder at Acrobator Ventures, Andrew Zinchuk, Founder and General Partner at ZAS Ventures, and Leon Podobedov, General Partner at hi5 Ventures, 10 startups became the finalist of the IT Arena 2022:

  • WRAPa web app for filmmakers that simplifies and automates video production workflow.
  • Solar Plex – hybrid solar panels with a unique technology which give you electricity and heat in ONE module.
  • MISU – personal virtual healthcare doctor.
  • Chameleon Age – the first ukrainian startup in Europe in the field of smart historical AR reconstruction.
  • Knopka –  a creator of an loT/SaaS solution for hospitals, which ensures that medical assistance is provided within 3 minutes.
  • OptySun – technology for autonomous water purification and disinfection.
  • DonorUA – blood donor recruitment and management system powered by artificial intelligence.
  • INPUT SOFT – innovation technology and process approaches in the aviation industry.
  • Scally – healthtech startup which provides a set of effective and easy-to-do exercises endorsed by onco-psychologists.
  • Nanit Robot – a developer of Edtech solution for kids and adults in STEM, allowing to learn engineering skills in creative process.

The finalists focused on solving real-world technological and humanitarian emerging problems. Five of ten teams focused on medtech solutions.

Opening ceremony

In the evening, all participants gathered at the Lviv National Opera, and IT Arena’s virtual host Arina opened the 2022 event.

Volunteering forces

During the most anticipated panel discussion “Volunteering forces: why Ukrainian civilians cannot stand aside” with Haluk Bayraktar (Baykar), Serhiy Prytula (Prytula Charity Foundation), and Taras Chmut (Come Back Alive) the speakers talked about the phenomenon of the Ukrainian unity and how the effort of civilians helps to achieve tangible results for the armed forces. The panel discussion was moderated by the prominent Ukrainian economist and former Minister of Trade and Economics, Pavlo Sheremeta.

  • Haluk Bayraktar – the CEO of Baykar, Turkey’s premiere autonomous technology company.
  • Serhiy Prytula – a Ukrainian public and political figure, volunteer, TV presenter, actor, and producer. Since February 24, he resumed his management of the Prytula Charity Fund, where he is organizing charitable fundraising for armaments and humanitarian aid for war victims. 
  • Taras Chmut – the Head of the Come Back Alive Foundation and the co-founder of the Militarnyi web portal. He’s a veteran of the Russo-Ukrainian war. After his retirement from the Marine Corps he became an analyst at the Foundation and since 2020 he’s been leading the entire team.

At the IT Arena 2022 Opening Ceremony, Lviv IT Cluster together with JustAnswer supported the initiative of the Serhiy Prytula Charitable Foundation and donated UAH 2,000,000 to the Boryviter school, which has already provided military training to over 1,000 soldiers in the following areas:

  • Military Topography Basics;
  • Military Radio Communication Basics;
  • Management of UAVs and Aerial Reconnaissance;
  • Leadership Essentials for Sergeants and Officers.

This step became part of large fundraising, which aims to collect ₴8,000,000 to train thousands of military in different directions including drone pilots.

At the end of the evening, the secret guest, the Ukrainian Antytila band, and the frontman Taras Topolia, who served in the Arm Forces of Ukraine, spotlighted the audience’s attention.

DAY 2: Cybersecutity, UAV, Tech

The second day of the conference started with the press event in the Lviv Opera House Mirror Hall, where the journalists had a chance to ask featured speakers about the current situation, achievements, and challenges:

  • Cameron Chell, President and CEO of Draganfly.
  • Kenneth Gears, External Communications Analyst at Very Good Security, NATO Cyber ​​Defense Center Ambassador.
  • Kim Zetter, a cybersecurity journalist who writes for leading tech publications and the author of the book Countdown to Zero Day.
  • Ivan Tolchynskyi, CEO of Atlas Aerospace.
  • Vitaly Sadler, CEO and co-founder of Intellias.
  • Oleksandr Bornyakov, Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation.

Four Panel discussions took place at IT Arena stage in Lviv National Opera

Insights from russian cyber tactics against Ukraine

During the cybersecurity panel “Insights from russian cyber tactics against Ukraine”, the audience learned about Russian cyber tactics against Ukraine, and Russian cyber offensive capabilities. Kim unveiled the types of wipers deployed in countries all over the world. 

  • Kim Zetter, a cybersecurity expert and journalist, the author of the book Countdown to Zero Day; has written for WIRED, the New York Times Magazine, Politico, Washington Post, Motherboard/Vice, and others.  

One of the things that I’m looking forward to is getting more information about how Ukraine hopes to be a leader, a teacher, an educator after the war about how it handled its digital defence of networks and systems here. I’m really interested to see how Ukraine develops that and turns into a teaching tool for the rest of the world, – Kim Zetter.

  • Victor Zhora, Deputy Chairman of the State Service of SCIP 
  • Kenneth Geers, External Communication Analyst at Very Good Security

The smart people in Washington and the EU realized how much they can gain and learn from Ukrainians, especially in cyberspace, – Kenneth Geers.

Government and Tech Business Consolidated Efforts

The panel on “Government and Tech Business Consolidated Efforts”, with Alex Bornyakov, Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation, Vitaly Sedler, CEO and Co-founder of Intellias, and Ivan Babichuk, Chairman of the Supervisory Board at Lviv IT Cluster, Orysia Khimiak, Respeecher, PR&Comms, focused on the war impact on tech and government sectors, the business ecosystem’s important initiatives, tech education development and main challenges of the present days.

What can the tech industry do to support the country in times of war?

Laurent Dupuch, Chairman of the Management Board, UKRSIBBANK, Yurii Adamchuk, CEO at Avenga, and Taras Kytsmey, Founder at SoftServe, talked about the role of the tech sphere in supporting the country’s economy, communication with the clients, and Ukraine’s restoration after the victory.

The future of tech in UAV

At the closing panel, for the first time in its history, IT Arena featured a discussion on advancements in military tech, in particular, UAV technology. Ivan Tolchinsky, CEO & Founder of Atlas Aerospace, Cameron Chell, President and CEO of Draganfly, and Ihor Maslov, Business Development Director at Ukrspecsystems, and Yaroslav Kalinin, CEO of Infozahyst, talked about how military drones are changing the battlefields and explored the future of tech in UAVs. Speakers. The talk was moderated by award-winning defense reporter Illia Ponomarenko who said:

We’re going to see less blood spilt on battlefields.

Startup Competition Winners

The winner of the Startup Competition 2022 became WRAP, an app automating video production flows. The team won the Best Startup Award and a $20,000 prize from IT Arena, CRDF and USF.

Knopka, a creator of an IoT/SaaS solution for hospitals that ensures medical assistance is provided within 3 minutes or less, took the second prize and $18,000.

The third prize, or $15,000 went to Nanit Robot – an educational robot and EdTech solution for kids and adults that allows them to identify creative and technical abilities, learn engineering skills in the creative process and raise professional orientation by 30%

Key insights: Resilient Together

  • Networking: Thanks to our courageous Army for the defense, it was so impressive to see many tech-related people during an offline tech event for the first time since the full-scale invasion. The IT Arena atmosphere welcomed participants for discussions on how the tech industry supports Ukraine in times of war, joint projects, outstanding Ukrainian talents, international partnerships, newborn and experienced startups, investments, and the unbreakable spirit of our country.
  • Topics: The themes of panels reflected on the zeitgeist – military tech industry, cybersecurity, tech for good, and charity funds, such as Prytula and Come Back Alive, as the most trustworthy institutions during wartime; 
  • Speakers & guests: The organizers gathered an all-star cast of international and local voices, leaders who visited the event and continuously contributed to our victory. They all showcased the brave spirit and standing for Ukraine in the most challenging times. 
  • Startups: the ninth edition of IT Arena brought together 28 qualified for the semi-finals out of 70 teams that applied to participate in the contest. All of the teams tried to showcase the projects best, but some had to enhance their presentation skills, especially in question sessions. Most startups focused on HealthTech, EdTech, and automation tools for filmmakers and marketers. But on the whole, the startups which develop innovative projects in wartime deserved genuine respect and support. 

“The fact that large-scale event IT Arena took place live and in a secured format in Lviv demonstrates to the whole world that the IT business in Ukraine continues to operate during the war and is a reliable and responsible partner that fulfills its contractual obligations on time, pays taxes in Ukraine, volunteers, helps financially the army and the population affected by the war,” said USAID Project Manager Natalia Petrova.

Afterwords by international guests

Cameron Chell, President and CEO of Draganfly.

About impressions of the conference and key insights: 

A conference with real purpose. People were committed to a cause not just to build creating great commercial technology. The quality of the organizing committee and the quality of the content were top-notch.

About panel discussion of UAVs and the main conclusions.

A robust and well-informed community with a depth of technical and practical experience who are working for something bigger than themselves not only exists but is thriving.

What’s next for Ukrainian tech? 

The tech community and its capabilities are underrated. The skill and commitment is world-class. As far a small UAV – Ukraine will be the hub of innovation in the area for the next 5-10 years and has a real opportunity to be a global leader with robust export business of products, services and training.

Kenneth Gears, External Communications Analyst at Very Good Security, NATO Cyber ​​Defense Center Ambassador.

About impressions of the conference and key insights: 

IT Arena 2022 was an unforgettable opportunity to see old friends, make new friends — and above all to support Ukraine.

About panel discussion of cybersecurity and the main conclusions.

Ukraine has admirably defended its country on the traditional battlefield — and in cyberspace. 

What’s next for Ukrainian tech? 

IT Arena proves that Lviv — a city that is more beautiful and inspiring than ever — has both history and the future on its side.


Despite all the challenges, IT Arena remains a platform that establishes and strengthens interaction in the IT sphere and Ukraine’s tech community, helps to find partners, and works out ideas and new ways of cooperation.

Great applause to the Lviv IT Cluster team for the fantastic event and high-level organization!

Everything is TECHable with Ukraine!

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