Kyiv, Ukraine.

Competition to identify Ukraine startups for VC investment

13 May 2024

The article at a glance

A competition and conference designed to promote post-war venture capital investment in Ukraine startups is organised by the Centre for Business Research at Cambridge Judge Business School.

Venture capital could play a key role in the rebuilding of Ukraine, so the Centre for Business Research at Cambridge Judge Business School has organised a competition designed to match promising Ukrainian startups with VC investors.

The competition seeks to identify 12 Ukraine startups that will be invited to a ‘speed dating’ event on 1 July at Clare College, University of Cambridge, to meet with VCs interested in investing in Ukraine. The deadline for applications from startups is 31 May.

The 1 July event to match startups with VCs will be followed on 2 July by an academic conference, also at Clare College, focused on the legal changes needed in Ukraine to promote more VC investment.

Why post-war Ukraine offers opportunity for startups and VCs

“The thinking behind the competition and speed dating event on 1 July is that there will be a golden opportunity in the near future for rebuilding Ukraine, and this will in turn create a hotspot for economic opportunity,” says Chris Coleridge, Management Practice Associate Professor at Cambridge Judge, who is organising the competition.

The 2 July conference on The Legal Framework for Venture Capital in Ukraine stems from a research project (funded by the Cambridge Endowment for Research in Finance) run by Simon Deakin, Professor of Law at the University of Cambridge and Director of the Centre for Business Research (CBR), and Hanna Sitchenko, an expert in Ukrainian venture capital law, who is a Research Fellow at the CBR.

Laws and institutions have a vital role to play in supporting venture capital, by providing the right environment for innovation to flourish, and building trust. Our research studies how this has been done in other countries and what lessons can be learned for Ukraine.

Professor Simon Deakin
Chris Coleridge.
Dr Chris Coleridge
Simon Deakin.
Professor Simon Deakin
Hanna Sitchenko.
Hanna Sitchenko

Pre-war Ukraine’s thriving innovation ecosystem

“Prior to the conflict with Russia, Ukraine had already established a thriving innovation ‘eco-system’, with a significant number of university-industry collaborations, and a high rate of VC funding by comparison to other countries in central and eastern Europe,” says the project’s website page.

“Since the summer of 2022 a number of VC partnerships based in London and New York have announced new funds to support early-stage investment in Ukrainian companies, and the Ukrainian government has prioritised VC in its plans for post-war reconstruction.”

How can Ukraine better attract VC investment?

The 2 July conference will examine 3 areas:

  • what is the optimal legal and transactional framework for venture capital?
  • what are the current legal obstacles to venture capital in Ukraine?
  • what changes are needed to the law and transactional structures to promote venture capital in Ukraine?