8 Famous IT Products From Ukraine

May 15, 2014 1640 Views
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8 Famous IT Products From Ukraine

Creative. Quality-oriented. Educated. Friendly. These are the words that software owners tend to describe the Ukrainian developers they communicate with. They have the wish and will to work and see the fruitful results of their work. But not only does Ukraine have talented developers who contributed to lots of award-winning and worldwide-known apps and games - there are many entrepreneurs who played the same great role in creating and managing successful startups. Here are several stories of software products and startups which Ukraine and Ukrainian IT people can relate to.


Jan Koum, CEO and co-founder of this famous cross-platform instant messaging service, is of Ukrainian descent. He grew up in Fastiv (Kyiv oblast) before moving with his family to California. Koum's idea for a messaging app came to him in 2009, inspired by the young and evolving Apple App Store, and the potential of the app market in general. Koum came up with the catchy name WhatsApp very quickly; and since then the idea has grown into a monster messenger, recently acquired by Facebook for $19 billion. Interesting fact: in 2007 both Koum and the WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton tried to apply for work at Facebook, and failed.


Viewdle, another example of a Ukrainian-American company, is a maker of a unique facial recognition technology - a perfect idea to be applied for mobile devices. It was founded by Ukrainians Yegor Anchishkin and Yuriy Musatenko. With the works of Kyiv Institute of Cybernetics and funding provided by American investors, they formed a startup so impressive that even Google set earnest sights on it in 2012, intending to buy 100% of shares for over $30 million. There started the story of not Viewdle, but rather a part of Motorola. Their well-known works include SocialCamera, Third Eye, ViewdleUploader, and ViewdleSDK.


The idea was to create a robot for entertaining pets when the owner wasn't at home. Alexander Neskin who lived in Kyiv brought it to life with funds gained from Kickstarter. Of the total $240,000, $100,000 were gathered in one week. Apart from the funding, Petcube was the result of one-year work on a robot prototype 'communicating' with pets via a laser pointer, Alexander's passion for robots, and the natural interest and love for cuteness of pets felt by the Internet people. Now Petcube is an extremely popular topic with social media. The gadget allows people to remotely play with their pets through a mobile app, as well as photograph them and share their cuteness with the community.

Metro 2033 / S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

Ukraine is rich with developers of desktop games, and their famous products. Let's name two first-person shooters, perhaps the most famous shooters of Ukrainian origin in the mobile world. One: Metro 2033, based on the eponymous post-apocalyptic science fiction novel. The game was developed by 4A Games (Kyiv) and spawned a sequel game, both released to favorable reviews. The other one, S.T.A.L.K.E.R., is actually a series of 3 games, created by GSC Game World (Kyiv), which had more than one popular work in their portfolio, before dissolving in 2011, and the abovementioned 4A Games is actually formed by GSC developers.


Alexander Lyabah (Dnepropetrovsk) founded CheckiO, a startup associated with an online game for coders. With the community of over 25 thousands of registered users, the purpose is competing to write the cleanest code for a defined task. In 2013 the startup participated in TechStarts in Boston, raised $750,000 from an investor pool, including such Ukrainian funds as Aventures Capital and TA Venture. Python was chosen as the first programming language for 'game missions'; others, including JavaScript, were said to come soon. Alexander took the role of the startup's CTO. Interesting fact: Guido van Rossum, author of Python, joined the project and writes weekly reviews of codes.


Here's uGift, an online service that sells gift certificates. The CEO is Andrey Zhivolovich (Kyiv), and a major stockholder is Ken Leaver, the former head of the Ukrainian Groupon branch. This startup was one of the three that gained GTF grants, along with Pics.io and Gutenbergz. This full-fledged business received incubator investments, and $30,000 from a Boston angel investor Semen Dukach, in exchange for 4% share in the company.


One of the most promising Ukrainian startups, Jeapie is a mobile marketing solution, which aims at retaining and increasing user loyalty; it's done through push notifications, geolocalized marketing, and analytics. The three founders of Jeapie are Alexander Mikhaylenko, Dmitriy Borzenkov, and Artem Shananin (Dnepropetrovsk). The business model of the startup is subscription. In less than 2 months after the release of beta version of Jeapie, it gained more than 1200 registered developers and teams. About 50 of them regularly use the solution for personal purposes.

These eight examples are just drops in the talent pool of Ukrainian descent. The experience and persistence of Ukrainian business people and software developers, combined with passion for what they do and cooperation with foreign colleagues - all this brings immense results in the wide world of IT. Now, with the Ukrainian IT sphere growing faster than ever, many gifted people gain the opportunities of self-actualization and chances to become the leader on the market.

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