Daxx team members recently attended one of the biggest CEE tech forums, the U Tomorrow Summit in Kyiv. It took place in Unit.City, the biggest innovation park in Eastern Europe.
This event brought together the most progressive Eastern European startups, entrepreneurs and venture investors to identify future trends in the tech industry and understand the full extent of Ukraine's IT industry value and CEE region on the global market.
Daxx Marketing Team members, Elena Ruchko and Valeriya Zhitieneva, at the U Tomorrow Summit - 2021
The event featured 100+ speakers from 15 countries with discussions on 24 tracks. Representatives of global brands such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft, as well as the most famous Ukrainian startups such as PetCube, Reface, and Preply participated in discussion panels.
Dominique Piotet CEO Unit.City U Tomorrow Summit
These are our key takeaways from the U Tomorrow Summit:
Because of the pandemic, companies learned to work remotely.
The pandemic forced companies to quickly switch gears to remote work, busting the myth that remote work is ineffective. Having adopted the internal processes and procedures to make the transition to remote work, companies became more open to collaboration with companies located elsewhere. Now the choice between ordering a service from a neighbouring vendor or one across the Atlantic is less of an issue.
Digital transformation accelerated during the pandemic.
Moving everything online has completely changed how businesses engage with their customers, making companies of all types - from offline retail to large B2B vendors - accelerate the speed at which they adopt digital technology. A substantial share of money in the world is now invested in digital transformation, which means the demand for technology services and solutions will only continue to grow.
Talent is the most valuable key resource for the companies.
During the Investment panel the audience, consisting of entrepreneurs, investors, marketers and tech specialists, was asked to range 5 key resources for their company according to the level of importance. Unsurprisingly, talent was voted as the most valuable key resource for companies to succeed.
Company Key resources poll results u tomorrow summit
Commenting on the poll results, the discussion panel participants acknowledged that funding and ecosystem are important, but they can’t outrank talent by importance level. Ideas are valuable, but as it was also noted during the U Tomorrow Summit, the most important part of an idea is its implementation. Without effective implementation, ideas don’t matter as much. Likewise, a lot of knowledge can be acquired online or through open-access resources.
Considering the importance of talent and its deficit in the regions with the highest investment capital concentration, companies that aspire to constant growth should be adapting new approaches to finding the talent they need, which often means looking for them in different regions.
Venture capital concentration in the world
Because of the pandemic Silicon Valley investors started to look to other regions.
During the Venture Capital panel discussion Cesar Salazar, the CEO of Beyond, mentioned that due to the rise in remote work, Silicon Valley investors started to look to other regions and discovered that they weren’t as different as they had previously thought. There is a lot of top talent in Eastern Europe, Central and South America, Asia, Africa, they use the latest technologies and methodologies in their work process, and their infrastructure and education system levels are quite high.
Ukraine is a good example: a growing number of California-based companies, including startups, technology companies and global brands, have started cooperating with Ukrainian engineering talent, because they learned that Ukraine’s biggest cities have a modern infrastructure and IT facilities for housing a tech product team. Engineers in Ukraine’s IT industry share the same Western business culture and progressive approaches to work, not to mention their high level of expertise and creativity.
It doesn’t matter where talent is located
The thoughts expressed by the Venture Capital and Investment panel participants summed up the fact that companies are now more open to remote work, meaning where they are located matters less than the quality of their work.
Many companies are already experiencing a talent shortage, and with the acceleration of digital transformation processes, global demand for talent will only continue to grow. Currently, the number one criteria for companies during the selection process is availability of the right talent in the region. As long as there is talent, they are ready to start working together.
Here at Daxx, we have observed the same situation for years. Most of the clients that come to Daxx are unable to hire the required talent in their location, so they are turning to Ukraine, which is home to over 200K tech professionals specialised in all tech stacks that are popular worldwide.
More employees want to be engaged in something meaningful
Victoria Umanska, Investment Manager at SMOK Ventures, explained that people are tired of working in big corporations. They want to be a part of something meaningful, where they can see their impact while working on a product. That’s why there is so much creative talent now.
CEE is the next region of innovations
The fact that U Tomorrow Summit was held in UNIT.City, the largest innovation park in Eastern Europe, and assembled the top minds of Europe and Silicon Valley, showed that CEE is the next powerhouse for innovative tech products and creativite talent.
According to Victoria Tigipko, Founder and Managing Partner at TA Ventures, “The historically undervalued region started to attract many reputable VC funds, and we should definitely rethink CEE. From the perspective of running a business, Eastern Europe traditionally requires less spending to deliver tech solutions. The ease of doing business in the region continues to increase, and now is the right time for VCs to look more precisely at the region.”
Ukraine is home to the most creative people
The CEO of Petcube, Yaroslav Azhnyuk, is confident that Ukraine has top talent. He explains that Ukraine has one of the most educated populations in the world - the country ranks fourth globally in the number of people with a higher education and at the same time, the cost of educated talent is considerably lower than in the US. Ukrainian talent is also diverse with its combination of expertise in several niche domains. Yaroslav is certain that Ukrainians have an unparalleled level of creativity, which is demonstrated by the large number of Ukrainian cultural exports and the tech products that hit the global market during the recent years.
It is easier and faster to hire a team of tech professionals in Ukraine
During the “Born in Ukraine” discussion panel, Ivan Altsybieiev, the CPO of Reface, said that the company’s success story wouldn’t be possible in Silicon Valley, simply because they wouldn’t have been able to assemble the same kind of team of such professional and talented people. Hiring talent in Silicon Valley is always a challenge for small companies, so even if they are able to find the right talent, on average it will take much longer.
Ukraine’s global image is still developing
Ukraine is no stranger to the global tech community. Many Silicon Valley-based startups and international businesses alike have had a positive experience with Ukrainian teams and recommend them to others. Ukrainians are talented and ambitious: they want to be a part of something great and contribute to successful projects.
What the Ukrainian tech industry still needs to do, however, is consolidate and build a more positive and consistent image of Ukraine as a tech destination to attract more investors and business. But as it was mentioned during the Summit, this can’t happen overnight. It's a long-term process of dedication and force consolidation in one direction.