A man holds a smart clock designed by Ukrainian startup LaMetric
It used to be public utilities, energy companies, carmakers or banks that would generate all the news when they went public on stock exchanges, but not anymore.
Nowadays it is tech startups that getting the attention and generate excitement among investors.
Take Snap Inc., the maker of smartphone messenger Snapchat, which launched an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange on March 2.
The company’s value rocketed to $32 billion. It has since dropped back to a more modest $25 billion. But that’s not bad for a company with a net worth of $1.5 billion and which has never turned a profit.
Ukrainian facial recognition startup Looksery – bought by Snap Inc. for $150 million and integrated into its signature feature called lenses – is part of that success story.
But lots of other Ukrainian startups apart from Odesa-born Looksery have hit the headlines. In the last few years, more Ukrainian tech firms have become household names around the world.
TechCrunch Disrupt winner Mobalytics, mobile phone camera flash iBlazr, Emma Watson’s favorite device PetCube and one-time best travel startup Tripmydream – all are Ukrainian.
The Kyiv Post has covered many such Ukrainian tech startups, but there are a lot more still out there.
Here are four of them.
A man passes by a shop window, behind which is a LaMetric Time smart clock showing the number of likes the shop owner has on Facebook
This Ukrainian startup has fused a cozy home design with sophisticated electronics to create a smart clock. Called LaMetric Time, it is a multifunctional clock that can be set to display its owners’ social network notifications, email inbox, weather forecast and other information on its display made of huge pixels.
The clock can also be connected to apps like Google Calendar, CrossFit, Apple Store, IFTTT, and others.
It can also work with a range of other gadgets, thus gaining information not just from the internet, but from its surroundings, such as air temperature and humidity.
Simple tools like a stopwatch, alarm and others are also built-in. The main feature, however, is called “clock faces” – the feature that won it the prestigious Red Dot designers award in 2016.
Clock faces are emojis depicted on the screen. They can be simple Lego or Minecraft heroes, logos, symbols or other images, including customized ones created via the LaMetric app.
The clock adjusts its brightness automatically, reacting to lighting conditions.
And each button on the clock’s body can be programmed individually to carry out specific tasks, such as calling a taxi, ordering a pizza or switching lights on and off.
Ukrainian company Gutenbergz is a printing house that doesn’t print books. Instead, it designs digital ones for iPads.
And although Gutenbergz founder Vlad Usov has already switched his attention to his award-winning 3-D printing project, Kwambio, the startup, is still releasing new books and providing technical support to previous ones, which are available for purchase in Apple’s App Store.
The company has come out with seven publications so far.
One, called “Gadgetarium,” was funded by 19 pledgers who raised $10,000 in a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign back in 2013.
Another, which combines five Sherlock Holmes stories, was highly popular in the App Store in a range of countries, taking first place in the book sections in China, Greece, the United States, and in several other countries.
The company’s latest release was in February – Gutenbergz created an app that combines Ukrainian textbooks for various school subjects and adds interactive features to all of them, such as pictures, videos, and 3-D models.
The app has already been used by 7th grade students in Odesa as a substitute for printed books. Not all of the schools in the city have enough books as Ukraine’s traditional printing houses produced only 50 percent of textbooks needed last year.
A person holds a smartphone running the BeWarned app, which was designed to help deaf people communicate
Company BeWarned has developed a free app to help the deaf to communicate more easily with hearing people.
The app records speech onto an app user’s smartphone, converting audio to text and vice versa.
Moreover, the app converts musical beats into flashes and vibrations, allowing the deaf to experience music, and if it detects sounds that may indicate danger, such as an emergency services’ siren, it warns its deaf user.
However, BeWarned founder Vitaliy Potapchuk, who’s partially deaf himself, later decided to split the BeWarned app into several less functional ones.
Potapchuk says BeWarned “was complicated and had way too many features combined together,” and that’s why he decided to divide the platform into separate apps.
The first of these new applications, called Connect, does just one part of what BeWarned did – converting speech to text and text to speech. Two people can communicate even if only one of the parties has the app installed.
ETachki founders Sergey Orlov and Oleg Skrypnychenko pose for a picture
Selling used cars should become easier now due to Ukrainian startup eTachki, which has created an online auction system for bidding on automobiles.
The online service can sell a used car in just 30 minutes. Car owners have to drive their cars to one of the offline sites where vehicles can be assessed by eTachki specialists and be valued.
There are 30 such sites in 23 Ukrainian cities. Five of them are in Kyiv.
Once valued, the information about the car is entered online ready for an auction.
The initial auction round lasts 30 minutes and is available only to dealers that are partners of eTachki. If nobody buys a car in the first round, there is a second round that is open to anyone, which lasts another 24 hours.
The automobile is sold to a highest bidder, but only if the car owner agrees to the price.
ETachki completes all the documentation for transferring the ownership of a used car ton the same day it’s sold.
The owner does not pay a fee for taking part in auctions. The only requirement: car has to be no more than 20 years old.
After eTachki launched in September 2016, it won $1 million in funding from venture capital fund TA Ventures.
Kyiv Post staff writer Denys Krasnikov can be reached at email@example.com