On May 17 at Brussels Expo, the Tech.eu team held the first big European Tech event, TechEUSummit 2022, taking place in the heart of Europe, Brussels. Over 1,000 founders, investors, and experts gathered to share ideas and knowledge on how to shape a sustainable future for European innovation ecosystems.

Within the event, Ukraine was presented at the “Standing tall: A spotlight on Ukraine’s resilient tech sector” panel, where Ukrainian tech ambassadors discussed how they tackle wartime challenges, demonstrating unprecedented tenacity, ability to operate in almost full capacity, and even growing amid the full-scale aggression by russia.

The beginning

The entrance to Tech.eu Summit 2022 was situated at Hall 10 of Brussels Expo, In front of which is waving the Ukrainian flag, and on the left side – the iconic Atomium with well-known Palais 5 behind.

At the beginning of the event, Tech.eu Founder Robin Wauters, Webrazzi Founder & CEO Arda Kutsal, and the MC Suyin Aerts was officially opening the first ever #TechEUSummit – the event where European tech comes together, bringing over 1,000 thinkers to network and exchange ideas on how to shape an energetic and sustainable future for Europe’s innovation ecosystem.

Alexander De Croo, Prime Minister of Belgium, during his speach appealed for more diversity in tech: “We make better decisions when we have more diversity. We need to make sure that we leverage educated women that we have in our society as they can be the greatest role models.”

Inaugurating the #TechEUSummit, Mariya Gabriel,European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, made special mention of and thanked Tech.eu for the crucial role it plays not only in highlighting some of Europe’s biggest champions, but also unearthing lesser known startups and perhaps providing them with their very first media exposure, an important part of any success story.

The Summit presented a star-packed agenda with 90+ international speakers, a day chock-full of inspiration and insights.

Conference highlights on the Inspire Stage included sessions on:

  • Unlocking Europe’s innovation potential
  • How to scale up European Tech: A veteran’s take
  • Dissecting the European VC landscape
  • A word to the Wise: A primer on disrupting legacy industries
  • Moving people – and things: What’s next for mobility and green transport?
  • Crossing borders: what startups need to know before they scale up internationally
  • Designing your organization to cultivate culture and scale at speed
  • Shining a light on the growth path: best practices for scaling businesses
  • Exploring the metaverse
  • The future for NFTs – beyond the hype
  • Checking in on Crypto: A state of play
  • How to hire (only) the best: Insights from lessons learned at tech giants
  • The rocky road to European tech/data sovereignty
  • Cooking with unicorns: A recipe for the secret sauce
  • Standing tall: A spotlight on Ukraine’s resilient tech sector
  • Building and nurturing sustainable ecosystems

The second stage at the event was true to its name — ‘Grow’:

  • Early-stage funding in Europe: A brave new world
  • Outlining a future for impactful investment strategies
  • Cutting Carbon: On a mission to lower emissions
  • Backing sustainable innovation: Best practices in green tech investing
  • The European ‘deep tech’ revolution: What, why and how?
  • Tell your story – or die trying (for VCs and startups alike)
  • The future of fundraising

Standing tall: A spotlight on Ukraine’s resilient tech sector

Ukraine became the featured topic during the event within “Standing tall: A spotlight on Ukraine’s resilient tech sector” panel, moderating by Andrii Degeler, where Ukrainian tech ambassadors discussed how they tackle wartime challenges, demonstrating unprecedented tenacity, ability to operate in almost full capacity and even growing amid the full-scale aggression by russia.

Putting the spotlight on Ukraine’s resilient tech sector, Alexandra Govorukha, head of international PR at Sigma Software Group elaborated on how the company revised contingency plans to get people to safer places during the war. Dmytro Voloshyn, co-founder and CTO at Preply.com said shifting to a project management plan helped the company to survive the crisis. Evelina Komarnytska from Ukrainian Startup Fund talked about a range of solutions for their Ukrainian team.

Alexandra Govorukha, Head of International Affairs at Sigma Software, Co-Founder of UTEW Tech Tribe, Advisor to TechUkraine, Producer of UK-Ukraine FinTech Summit.

Highlights of the speech:

  • IT companies provide financial assistance to our defenders and citizens. During the first days of the war, IT companies transferred more than $25 million to support the Army, citizens with humanitarian aid and the country with taxes paid in advance. Currently, the IT industry is one of the few that can be the basis of the rear and economic recovery, reducing the risks of humanitarian catastrophe due to the loss of jobs by the vast majority of the population. Since the beginning of the war, Sigma Software & its parent company Danir raised $1.7 M and launched the Swedes for Ukraine platform to match Swedish hosts and Ukrainian refugees.
  • The Ukrainian IT industry showed a record high financial result, despite the war. According to the National Bank of Ukraine, for the 1st quarter of 2022, Ukrainian IT provided the Ukrainian budget with a record $2 billion in export earnings, despite martial law, shelling, mobilization, forced relocation of enterprises and collectives. The number for the same period in 2021 was $1.44 billion. The volume of IT exports increased by 28%, according to the IT Ukraine Association.
  • According to AVentures Capital – the volume of deals in the Ukrainian venture capital market reached $832M in 2021. A super record-high! This year we mark the significant development of the Ukrainian aerospace industry and military technologies.

Also, Alexandra shared with the audience the steps on how Ukrainian tech businesses prevented the war crisis and actions essential for service continuity in emergencies (based on the business continuity plan of Sigma Software)

  • Preparatory actions
  • Infrastructure stability
  • Cybersecurity
  • Evacuation & Accommodation
  • Workload balancing
  • Financial security/support
  • The mental health of the employees

Sigma Software is Swedish-Ukrainian tech company, one of the World`s 100 Best Outsourcing Providers, working in such segments as Automotive, Aviation, Construction/Real Estate, Finance and Banking, Healthcare, Energy, etc.

Dmytro Voloshyn, Cofounder and CTO of the next Ukrainian edtech unicorn Preply

Highlights of the speech:

  • Preply is a global language learning marketplace, connecting tutors with millions of learners from all over the world. Powered by a tenfold increase in revenues over the last three years, Preply now has 300+ employees of over 44 nationalities based between Barcelona, Kyiv and US. In April 2022, Preply joined the Top 100 Marketplace 2022 list by a16z and Future.
  • Since the beginning of the war, Preply has been focused on supporting teammates and their families based in Ukraine with evacuations to safer locations, emergency funds and psychological support. We are relieved to say that every staff member who wanted to leave Kyiv has done so.

How Preply supporting people:

  1. Language Assistance Program: We’re matching volunteer tutors with displaced Ukrainians who want to learn or improve their language skills through video calls. Share this sign-up form (in Ukrainian) with your family, friends and network.
  2. Letters to Ukraine: A global message board that allows people from around the world to send a message to the people of Ukraine in any language. These messages will be distributed via digital billboards in Warsaw central train station and across social media.

Evelina Komarnytska, Startup Relations at the most significant investor for national early-stage startups Ukrainian Startup Fund.

Highlights of the speech:

  • The Ukrainian Startup Fund is a state fund established in 2018 under the umbrella of the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine. Its mission is to develop and create a strong Ukrainian ecosystem by supporting the early-stage startups with financial and further assistance. Almost 300 startups have already received our non-refundable grant support and participated in global events all over the world.
  • The first steps as the war started were the following with the main focus to create a broad vision of the IT industry transformation, covering the postwar period:
  1. First, we conducted the Startup Voice Survey and figured out the main needs of Ukrainian teams. 99 % of the respondents need financial support, and almost 40 % of them need relocation assistance.
  2. That was the reason to launch the SAVEUASTARTUP matching platform where startups can find the most relevant solutions on our interactive global map.
  3. From the very first day, negotiations were held with international institutions, donors and associations. Active work after communication is carried out with the NATO, EU Innovative council, Investment Bank, Amazon, EBRD and other representatives.
  4. We developed the up-to-date Dual-grant program, which will be implemented by the Fund in the near future and provides grants of up to $ 35,000 for dual-purpose projects in the most important areas such as defence, cybersecurity, education, health care and infrastructure reconstruction.
  5. USF team is also focused on international events as this is an opportunity to represent the Ukrainian tech industry and its huge potential. Our near plans are to make it possible for the most promising Ukrainian teams to attend VIVA Tech in Paris and Collision in Canada this June and to present their innovative solutions.

We do believe that such events will not only bring the Ukrainian and International ecosystems together but also will spread the word about our strong IT community worldwide.

Also, on the eve, our speakers visited Networking Night at the City Hall of Brussels Ville de Bruxelles – Stad Brussel.

During the Summit, there were networking and quiet areas in Hall 10, where we met many tech ecosystems players, leaders of communities, and friends from all over Europe (such as Inna Stelmakh, Mike Butcher, Robin Wauters, Valeriya Bondarenko, and others), as well as an exhibition of partners and startups.

Big applause and thanks to Robin Wauters and all Tech.eu team for the great event and support for Ukraine!

Glory to Ukraine!