Despite the Pandemic and War: IT Arena Turns 10

August 15, 2023

IT Arena celebrates its tenth anniversary. The country’s key tech event that has been bringing together the leaders of the tech industry in Lviv for the past 10 years will take place on September 29-October 1, 2023. IT Arena attendees have gone together through the Covid-19 pandemic and the first year of the full-scale invasion. This year’s IT Arena will once again prove that nothing is impossible for our tech industry: powerful startups, heated discussions, technological innovations, productive networking, and thousands of visitors. IT Arena 2023 promises to surpass all the previous ones.

Speakers from Silicon Valley and the Deputy Prime Minister for Innovation

Among the first announced speakers of IT Arena 2023 are Mykhailo Fedorov, Deputy Prime Minister for Innovation, Education, Science and Technology, Minister of Digital Transformation, who contributed to the launch of the Diia project; Gauthier Vasser, a world-class specialist in business analysis, AI and Data Science with work experience in Silicon Valley; Svitlana Sikular, Vice President of AI Research at Gartner; Evelyn Buchacki, Managing Partner at D3 Venture (an early-stage startup fund); Patrick Burt, former Mayor of Palo Alto, the heart of Silicon Valley, and now an environmental expert.

In 2023, IT Arena will traditionally focus on 4 tracks: business, technology, product, and startup and will be held offline. The conference events will take place in historic locations of Lviv: Lviv National Opera, Maria Zankovetska Theater, and the Andrey Sheptytsky National Museum. On the last day of the conference, attendees will be able to choose between 50 meetups in 15 additional locations around Rynok Square and the surrounding streets.

Ambitious startups and defense tech

In the second year of the full-scale invasion, the tech industry not only demonstrates resilience, remaining the only export industry that is fully operational during the war, but also continues to develop. IT Arena has become not only a meeting point for the global tech community in Ukraine, but also a platform for communication, opportunities, and investment for young startups. Since the foundation of the Startup Competition, 988 startups have pitched on the IT Arena stage, and the most successful of them – Liki24, AXDRAFT, Legal Nodes, etc. – have received significant investments and entered international markets.

Despite the significant role of the tech sector in the country, the second year of full-scale invasion sees a growth in the defense tech sector and the emergence of new startups in this field. In 2023, IT Arena, in partnership with the defense tech cluster Brave1, will introduce a special category for desense tech startups. Find out more about the terms of participation in the Startup Competition and register your startup here.

Decade in tech

IT Arena 2023 is a tribute to the last decade of the tech industry in Ukraine. For ten years, we have witnessed together as our tech products have increasingly conquered the world, innovators, including the Ukrainian ones, have created non-standard solutions, and the industry itself has demonstrated resilience against all odds. The event was launched at the Arena Lviv stadium in 2014 (hence the name) initially as a professional conference – a place where local industry professionals could discuss the latest technological innovations, exchange views, and get inspired. Every year, IT Arena grew and developed, and from a local event it quickly became the key tech event in Eastern Europe, bringing together more than 5,000 participants in 2020. Today, IT Arena is the number one event in Ukraine for representatives of tech companies: they have the opportunity to present their products and tell an international audience about them, find customers or investments. More than 30% of IT Arena attendees are founders and owners of companies, entrepreneurs, and top management.

Due to the pandemic, the conference had to adapt – in 2020 and 2021, IT Arena was held first online and then in a hybrid format. IT Arena has become fully digitalized and expanded its audience, allowing participants to join the conference from anywhere in the world using a smartphone.

2022 was supposed to be the year when IT Arena fully returned to the offline format, but due to the full-scale invasion, the event had to transform again. For security reasons, IT Arena 2022 was held in locations equipped with shelters with a limited number of attendees and was dedicated to how the tech community can help the state in the fight against the enemy.

Throughout its history, IT Arena has been attended by 24,493 participants from more than 53 countries, and 800 renowned experts have spoken at the event, including Daniel Dines, CEO and co-founder of UiPath, one of the most successful startups in the world, Richard Stallman, founder of the free software movement, Maye Musk, role model and bestselling author, Haluk Bayraktar, CEO of Baykar, a UAV company, Oobah Butler, prankster and filmmaker, as well as representatives of tech giants such as Google, Amazon, Spotify, Facebook, AstraZeneca, Tesla, F1, and others.

“In 2020 and 2021, we held IT Arena despite the coronavirus pandemic, and in 2022 we found the courage to organize the event even during the war. In 2023, IT Arena celebrates its tenth anniversary  we are adapting again and returning in an even bigger format. IT Arena is changing, just like our country and the tech industry around us, and we continue to develop almost simultaneously. Each time, taking into account the circumstances of the time, the safety of visitors, speakers, and the team remains our top priority  regardless of whether it is a mask regime or the availability of shelters at all locations. The 10th IT Arena is undoubtedly partly a retrospective and even a bit of nostalgia, but also it holds very ambitious plans for the future,” says Stepan Veselovskyi, CEO, IT Arena and Lviv IT Cluster.

Every year, IT Arena is covered by dozens of global media outlets, and in 2022, the event received more than 1000 media mentions. Journalists from The Economist, TNW, Le Point, and Spider’s Web attended the conference despite the warnings of editors and air raid sirens.

Hurry up to book tickets to the event to get quality networking, the best insights, and become a part of the 10th anniversary of IT Arena 2023.