Web Summit 2022: Brave Ukraine At The Main Global Tech Stage

Amid the nine months of a full-scale invasion by russia, Ukraine’s  national innovation sector has impressed over 70 000 attendees from 160 countries with a notable presence at the “Davos for Geeks,” the “planet’s best tech conference” Web Summit 2022 that had taken  place on 1st through 4th of November in Lisbon, Portugal.

Ukraine was spotlighted during the event at all levels and days: surprise appearance of the First Lady of Ukraine on the main stage at the Opening Night ceremony, National Pavilion “Ukrainian Tech Ecosystem – The Capital Of Freedom,” speech and press conference by Vice Prime Minister & Minister of Digital Transformation Government of Ukraine Mykhailo Fedorov, presentation of the documentary “Made with Bravery” about the Ukrainian tech sector during wartime, 70 Ukrainian startups & companies within the event, dozen of panels, sessions, and discussions on the topic of Ukraine.

Let’s discover how Ukrainian tech showcased resilience and bravery for the international audience and sought support from the global tech community to bolster our fight against russia.


  • Web Summit 2022
  • Ukraine’s Victory on The Tech Diplomacy Front
  • Ukraine at Web Summit
  • The First Lady Of Ukraine On The Main Stage
  • Mykhailo Fedorov: Tech for Good and Support For Ukraine
  • Ukrainian Tech Ecosystem National Pavilion
  • Officials’ check-in
  • Highlight of the week: Film “Made with Bravery,” the story of Ukrainian startup resilience
  • Startups and companies
  • Highlights from the Ukrainian Pavilion: presentations, panels, master-class
  • Main Stage Ukrainian Speakers
  • Side Events
  • Final Words
  • Props to the Partners

Web Summit 2022

Web Summit runs the world’s largest technology events, connecting people and ideas that change the world. The event’s mission has been to create software that enables meaningful connections between the CEOs, founders, investors, members of the media, politicians and cultural figureheads who are reshaping the world.

Key numbers:

  • 2,296 startups and 342 partners from 94 countries
  • 2,000 journalists attended the conference
  • 1,081 investors from 60 countries
  • 1,050 speakers on 26 tracks
  • 17 Stages, 4 new: Book Summit, Verified, Crypto and Security Summit.
  • Event space: 204,386 square metres – 1,046 tennis courts 
  • Women: nearly 30,000 attendees (42 percent) are women. 34 percent of speakers are women. Nearly 400 women-founded companies among the startup cohort.
  • Tech giants: Apple, Google, Amazon, OpenSea, Microsoft, Figma, Stripe,AWS, Binance, etc.

Ukraine’s Victory on The Tech Diplomacy Front

A scandal broke out just a week before the event on social media platforms due to the appearance among the speaker’s three persons, well-known as Pro-Kremlin propagandists: Max Blumenthal, Aaron Mate, and Noam Chomsky (Read Who is the pro-Russian trio? Via The Kyiv Independent).

Considering Web Summit’s scale and impact on the global tech arena, it was utterly inappropriate to give people who support genocide a voice on its stage.

The work group of the UA Pavilion, had started acting against it immediately and from different sides. First of all, Alexandra Govorukha, Head of Global Affairs at Sigma Software Group, a co-organiser of the Ukrainian pavilion, responsible for its PR, prepared a letter for Web Summit organisers. This note of protest was sent to them on behalf of: 

  • the pavilion organisers
  • the Embassy of Ukraine in Portugal
  • the Ministry of Digital transformation

The next day, the 26th of October, the work group of the UA Pavilion received an answer from Michael Hartnett, Head of Global partnerships at Web Summit. He sent an email with their apologies in a very respectful manner. And the main result was that they canceled Max Blumenthal and Aaron Mate in the program and promised these people wouldn’t even attend the summit. Noam Chomsky, previously announced in person on the main stage, was moved to speak virtually. The same message they posted on Twitter.

We appreciate the Web Summit team for understanding and the quick reaction. 

What worked? As always, teamwork. The immediate reaction of various stakeholders to the announcement of the inapropriate speakers. Community support in spreading protest against russian propaganda representatives. But the most important is quick action plus using the right communication channel. We did it with joint efforts, and I thank all who wasn’t indifferent. Keep fighting on the information front! – Alexandra Govorukha, co-organiser of the Ukrainian Pavilion, Head of Global Affairs at Sigma Software

The Ukrainian tech community, especially the PR & communication army, teamed up and protected the country on the crucial information and tech frontier. Thanks to each defender and warrior who paid attention, joint the efforts to “fight and win,” and spread the word about war: Dmytro Voloshyn, Orysia Khimiak, Julia Petryk & Ukrainian PR Army, Anastasia Bratko, Diana Rakus, Yurii Pyvovarov, Ira Supruniuk, Den Smyrnov, Natalia Denikeieva, Viroslava Novosilna, Illya Kabachynskyi, Ilya Boshnyakov, Inna Stelmakh, Dima Shvets, and many others.

More about this issue read in the article by Bloomberg.

Ukraine at Web Summit

Key numbers 

  • At least 30,000 people visited the national stand of Ukraine
  • over 2000 Ukrainians visited the event
  • 70 startups & companies showcased at the conference
  • Politicians and influencers within the Ukrainian Pavilion: the First Lady of Ukraine, the Mayor of Lisbon, the US Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, world heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk

The First Lady Of Ukraine On The Main Stage

First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska became a special guest of  the largest European technology conference. A surprise appearance from the President’s wife at Web Summit’s Opening Night saw her call on the tech community for help amid russia’s invasion of her country.

The First Lady told the participants about how russia has put technology at the service of terror since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

On the russian side, IT specialists are engaged to carry out terrorist attacks on Ukrainian cities. Previously, they worked in private IT companies. That’s what I’m talking about: there’s a frontline going through your sphere right now, too. The arena of struggle between evil and good. Between the aggressor and the ones who simply defend their home.

Unlike the aggressor, Ukraine wants to use all possible technologies to save people. Therefore the state is strengthening cyber security, ensuring the stability of all digital systems of both the public and private sectors. 

Watch the full speech:

Mykhailo Fedorov: Tech for Good and Support For Ukraine

In the session by the Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Digital transformation of Ukraine on the main stage Mykhailo Fedorov emphesized that “the war in Ukraine is really a technological war,” laid out his plans for how the tech sector supports the Ukrainian people, and repairs the damage done to the country.

I want to show you how technology lets you protect the entire democratic world, and how each of you can test your product in Ukraine, capitalize on your company and join our victory.

On Thursday, 3.11, at Web Summit Microsoft announced an extension of its tech support for the embattled country. During the press conference with the Microsoft’s vice-chair and president Brad Smith announced a further $100 million (€102 million) aid package to support tech in Ukraine through 2023. The package will extend support for the government, critical infrastructure, and other sectors that can continue to serve Ukrainian citizens through Microsoft Cloud.

Also, within the event, 4.11, Mykhailo Fedorov met with David van Weel, Assistant Secretary General at NATO, to discuss the options of cooperation in the innovation sphere which will help to defend Ukraine against Russia’s brutal aggression. David van Weel is the NATO secretary general’s primary advisor on emerging security challenges and their implications for the security of the Alliance.

Ukrainian Tech Ecosystem National Pavilion

Even in such dramatic and challenging wartimes, the second year in rough Ukraine was presented at Web Summit via the National Pavilion. Prominent startups, VC funds, IT service companies, government institutions, and ecosystem organizations from Ukraine gathered together to show off one of the biggest tech powerhouses in Europe – Ukraine.

At least 30,000 people visited the national stand of Ukraine. Among the honorable guests were the First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, the Mayor of Lisbon, Carlos Moedas, the US Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, Marisa Lago, and world heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk.

We want to show the world that the tech industry in Ukraine is alive and growing. Despite the war and despite all the terror, – Den Smyrnov, Sigma Software Group

During wartime, the export volume of computer services for the first half of 2022 has reached $3.74 bln, 23% more than for 2021. Ukrainian startups and tech companies raised almost $350 mln in the first six months of 2022, and the country’s tech talent pool counts nearly 300,000 developers. 

70 Ukrainian startups and scaleups have made the journey to Lisbon to promote new products in the fields of lifestyle, recycling and Web.3.0.

Hundreds of attendees came to Ukrainian Pavilion every day. They shared with us they were coming: 

  • to meet WOW people from Ukraine that represent the resilient IT industry of our fighting country;
  • to keep growing and to find out how they keep things growing during wartime, turning Ukraine into the largest European tech powerhouse;
  • to get acquainted with the top achievers and game changers of the Ukrainian tech ecosystem;
  • to learn how Ukrainians can help grow international businesses and startups;
  • to realize that the best time to invest in Ukraine is NOW, not after the war.

Officials’ check-in

On the third day of Olena Zelenska’s visit to the Portuguese Republic, the First Lady visited the national stand of Ukraine together with Deputy Prime Minister – Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov and the Mayor of Lisbon Carlos Moedas. Olena Zelenska also noted the scale and interactivity at our pavilion:

There are events here all the time: presentations, lectures, pitches of Ukrainian startups and companies. All of them prove that now is the time to invest in Ukrainian IT. Because Ukraine’s victory in the war, along with people, is ensured by modern technologies.

Highlight of the week: Film “Made with Bravery,” the story of Ukrainian startup resilience

On the 2nd of November, the activities on the Ukrainian Pavilion kicked off with the global premiere of the documentary about Ukrainian tech during wartime “Made With Bravery” by Canadian content producers Dan Herman and Chase Kaiser.

A Toronto-based team visited Kyiv and Lviv in September 2022 and filmed the movie. During four days, Dan and Chase interviewed several representatives of the tech ecosystem, including the Ukrainian Startup Fund (Pavlo Kartashov), UNIT.City (Kiril Bondar), MacPaw (Julia Petryk ), PetCube (Yaroslav Azhnyuk), Respeecher (Alex Serdyuk), ADAM Bioprinting (Mykhailo Pluzhnik-Gladyr), Ministry of Digital Transformation (Alex Bornyakov), TechUkraine (Iryna Supruniuk) and others.

“From coffee shops to bomb shelters. From work-life balance to work-war balance. “Made with Bravery: the Story of Ukrainian Startup Resilience” profiles how Ukraine’s startup ecosystem has reacted and adapted to life amidst over 200 days of full-scale russian invasion, and how the lessons learned from war will help Ukraine scale to new heights in the world of innovation and technology.”

Watch now:

Startups and companies

During the four days of the Web Summit in Altice Arena, up to 70 Ukrainian startups and companies promote Ukrainian innovations, solutions, and inventions. Discover more about them via StartupReporter.

The Ukrainian Startup Fund, together with GIST, presented the largest delegation of startups in history, which included 24 Ukrainian startups: UBOS, ReLeaf, Jiffsy, Logos, Revisior, PeopleForce, Choice31, I3 Engineering, Liki24, BannerBoo, Kycaid, SkinnerAI, Lookerz, MISU, Keiki, Adminix, LabsArena.com, SCOPO, Awesomic, Birb, StanPass, Trustee Plus, DeHealth Network, and Dooozen.

According to the latest report by Dealroom “Startups and venture capital in CEE” 

  • Ukrainian startups are showing incredible resilience in spite of the war and recession, with enterprise value growing 3.3x since 2020
  • Two new unicorns in the region are from Ukraine: airSlate and Unstoppable Domains
  • Among CEE countries, Croatia, Lithuania, and Ukraine have grown fastest since 2017 in combined enterprise value. Since 2017, Croatia grew by 16.6x to €10B, Lithuania 15.7x to €4.7B, and Ukraine 9.3x to €23.3B
  • 2021 & 2022 strongest years for unicorn creation in CEE, the region has now fostered 44 $1B+ startups

I won’t be wrong when I say that we are doing our best to support Ukrainian businesses and the IT sector. There are no safe places now, we don’t know which city will be hit next. The word bravery has changed since the beginning of the war, for us means continuing to provide our services, – Oksana Horbunova, BazaIT. 

Highlights from the Ukrainian Pavilion

Panel discussions

  • Re-thinking entrepreneurship in times of uncertainty with Tania Yaroshenko, Head of Product, Pawa, Sergey Tokarev, Founding Partner, Roosh, Oleksandr Bornyakov, Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, Iryna Volnytska, President SET University, Nataliia Petrova, Project Manager, Office of Economic Growth, USAID
  • How Crypto Assets Helps Ukraine Prevail by Oleksandr Bornyakov, Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine on IT industry development and  Lyudmyla Kozlovska, President of Open Dialogue Foundation


  • Ukraine as a future IT Hub of Europe: Mykhailo Fedorov, Vice Prime Minister & Minister of Digital Transformation Government of Ukraine, ‍Oleksandr Bornyakov, Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine for IT development
  • Ukrainian Tech Ecosystem Overview by Kateryna Hrechko
  • First Business Camp for Ukrainian Female Refugees presentation by Olesia Malovana, co-founder of Ukrainian hub, 
  • Play Black Snow Game and win gifts! your AR Gamified Experience by Sigma Software Labs
  • How to Rebuild Ukraine with 3D Printing Technology by Dominique Piotet
  • Innovative industry: robots that conquered world events by Gusarov Ievgen, Moroz Katerina


  • Oleksandr Bornyakov, Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine for IT development unveiled the key factors which help Tech for thriving Ukraine
  • Serhiy Berezhnyy, Co-founder of KOLO charity foundation, showcased new tech charity products for Ukraine which are intended to provide the next level of engagement, transparency and efficiency.
  • Olha Paramonova, VP at Sigma Software, presented the synergies that empower changes:  tech products solving war issues &  Social impact against the war
  • Valery Krasovsky, General Partner at SID Venture Partners, CEO and Co-Founder at Sigma Software Group talked about Ukraine venture ecosystem in 2022,  Insight from the most active VC in the country, how startups are adapting their product and investment strategies and the lessons from running a VC fund during war time
  • Kirill Bondar, CFO, Partner at UNIT.City, talked provide insights into innovative infrastructure of Ukraine during the war

And few startups: ZibraAI, Jiffsy, Choice31, Keiki, Revisior

I don’t think there’s something in the world that could kill our ability to win and ability to do work or anything. Nothing could happen that would stop us delivering business, even in these conditions, – Valery Krasovsky, CEO and co-founder of Sigma Software Group, in the comment for CNBS.

Main Stage Ukrainian Speakers

During the discussion “Freedom Fighters: The strategy behind the knockout punch” took place on the main stage, Ukrainian professional boxer and world champion Oleksandr Usyk and Parimatch Tech CEO Maksym Liashko shared their experiences in how to act in a crisis, discussed how they build their successful strategies in business and sports, presented their tools to achieve their goals.

Victoria Repa, co-founder and CEO of Kyiv-based maker of health and fitness apps BetterMe, had an opening presentation at HealthConf about the role of technology in our public health sector. Viktoria introduced to the audience the current mental health state of Ukraine and what BetterMe is doing to help during the war.

Reface CEO Dima Shvets talked from the Centre Stage and Growth Summit stage, sharing the experience of leading a company during wartime, about how people express themselves in digital worlds and hyper-realistic representations.

Side Events

Along with the main program, this year, Web Summit also had dozens of side events during the week. We noted a few of them in particular:

  • The Europas Tech Startup Awards by Mike Butcher (Ukrainian winner in category healthtech BetterMe)
  • Startup Genome Ecosystem Leadership Forum 
  • Ukrainian Pre-Party by Digital Future & Reply
  • Ukrainian party “Winning the hearts” by UNIT.City, Flyer One Ventures, NEAR UA, N-finity, Hacken
  • Networking Oasis for Immigrant Founders and Investors by Ukrainian Geek Ventures 
  • Launch the Lisbon WTECH community

Final Words

Tech is changing the world: breakthrough innovations improve our lives, and inventions implement into solutions to enhance the perception of a new reality, spreading information, assets, products & services worldwide. 

Right now in Ukraine, during wartime, tech saves lives, helps to defend our country against russian aggression, and protects and secures via military tech, drones, AI, cybersecurity, Medtech, space tech, fintech, agrotech, cleantech, etc.

I’m proud to see that during 9 months of the full-scale invasion, our tech founders and teams are staying strong, demonstrating tremendous resilience and leadership, driving innovations in extremely hard conditions (“permacrisis,” the word of 2022 by Collins dictionary), even developing and launching new projects, scaling up and win. 

It’s an honor to be Ukrainian! Support Ukraine and our courageous Army, which protect the values of democracy and the free world from barbarians that destroy our cities daily! Work with our creative minds, which know all about crisis management and high-level results in times of the “Black Swans” every day. 

Everything is TECHable with Ukraine!

Props to Our Partners

Thanks to everyone who helped make it possible! 

The general partner of the project: UNIT.City innovation park. 

Co-organizers: Ukrainian Startup Fund, Ministry of Digital Transformation, the Embassy of Ukraine in Portugal, Sigma Software Group, Ukrainian Hub, the Еuropean Business Association.

Partners: Flyer One Ventures, Bitcoin Magazine Ukraine, SID Venture Partners, Sigma Software Labs, Roosh, Near Protocol. 

Media partner: TechUkraine.

Info partners: USAID, Kharkiv IT Cluster, Kyiv IT Cluster, and IT Dnipro Community.

Support Kyiv-based TechUkraine team here.

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