The MarTech Discussion Club was created to bring the local MarTech and AdTech communities together to exchange ideas, experiences, and knowledge.
Our virtual panel shared thoughts and experiences on attracting investments in early-stage startups, building a startup in Ukraine, successful cases of Ukrainian startups, and much more. If you’re interested in hearing the full discussion, you can watch the recording. Below, we’ve outlined the main highlights.
When talking about the future of MarTech startups in Ukraine, our speakers agreed that while there are many possibilities and opportunities, much of the startup’s success depends on choosing the right target market. To become a Unicorn, a startup should aim for the global market, in some cases the US market exclusively. That said, testing a product is much easier locally. It’s worth noting, however, that many global markets already have solutions to the majority of problems, which is why the product has to be innovative enough to compete.
Oleksandr Sazonov, Co-Founder of Competera Pricing Platform, believes that there are many open opportunities for Ukrainian MarTech startups, but the founders need to think globally and build global products. Solutions that are developed in Ukraine are often done so without analyzing the global competition. In his opinion, finding investments is not an issue; the issue lies with the vision and the depth of understanding of the problem that the product is trying to solve.
It’s a challenge for many startups to scale up to the international market once they’ve established themselves locally. Victoria Umanska, Associate at bValue Venture Capital, argues that the cause is inflexibility of the companies, i.e. sticking to their existing business model when trying to expand globally. As a possible solution, she suggests National Partner programs. Although in general, you have fewer global prospects when branching out from the local market—unless your company started in the US. That being said, the US market is oversaturated, so it makes sense to look for opportunities and money in other countries.
Meanwhile, local startups are offering advertising products that are not in high demand in the Ukrainian market. Alexander Gorlov, a Managing Partner at CMS Group, claims that MarTech solutions from Ukrainian startups are too advanced for local advertising agencies. He says there’s no point for advertisers to use innovative, complicated MarTech technologies when good old Facebook or Google Ads cover all their needs and get the job done.
As for attracting investors and early-stage funding, startups need to consider whether the problem their product is solving is universal. Success in one market doesn’t translate to success in another. Of course, if you seek funding for a local product, then you’ll only find local investments. Dmytro Bilash, Co-Founder of Captain Growth, says that the MarTech industry is very fragmented, vertically. Ukrainian market is growing and consolidating, you can find client companies to buy your software. But it’s better to aim globally. After all, just because you’re making a product for a global market, doesn’t mean you can’t have local clients.
To sum up, our speakers had an optimistic forecast for the MarTech startup scene in Ukraine. Most of them have invested in or are willing to invest in local startups.