The Founding Fathers of IT ARENA
In the past ten years, Ukraine has seen a huge outbreak in the development of tech industry, especially in outsourcing, R&D, and e-commerce. Lviv, the largest city in the West of the country and a place often called Ukraine’s culture capital, was not an exception. With over 19 000 employees working in the industry, the tech sector is booming here. In 2014, following the announcement of the city’s strategies for the next 10 years (which subsequently were IT and tourism), the decision was made: Lviv should host a big tech event.
In 2014 the main tech changemakers in Lviv took the lead and decided to organize Lviv IT Arena (now IT Arena) which quickly became the most anticipated tech event in Ukraine. The event was co-organized with the help of Lviv IT Cluster, Lviv City Council, ELEKS, Lviv Testers Community, Lviv Business School, GDG Lviv, Startup Depot, WISC, and Lviv School of Project Management (now LITS).
The organizers of the first conference faced a lot of challenges but managed to secure a terrific event which united over 800 participants, including IT professionals from all domains (software engineers, designers, QAs), CEOs, young entrepreneurs and startups. IT Arena 2014 consisted of 11 sections: Startup, Management as Fun, Data Science, QA, Google Development, Mobile, User Experience, IT Outsourcing, Value Management and Business Analysis, Information Security, and Game Development, and included representatives of YouScan, Smart Atoms, Viber, Pebble, Yandex etc.
Launched in 2014 as a local event, IT Arena has quickly grown to one of the biggest tech events in Eastern Europe. It has grown exponentially content quality-wise, and can now boast previous speakers from some of the world’s leading companies as Facebook, Spotify, Microsoft, Uber, Philips etc.
According to Ruslan Zacharchenko, CEO at ELEKS: “The idea to start IT Arena dates back to 2014 when IT Cluster offered ELEKS’ team to join efforts and organize a truly European event. Our goal was to establish a high quality IT conference, focusing on technology trends that revolutionize the modern world. We aimed to provide Lviv IT community with an excellent opportunity to learn from the most forward-thinking tech experts and explore the most outstanding and innovative ideas from the technology world. For more than three years, we continued bringing the conference to a brand new professional level. In 2017, while coordinating Technology stream, we have ambitious plans to sharpen innovation knowledge by bringing together the brightest tech experts. We invite the prominent innovators as speakers to share their unique experiences and shed light on the technologies of the future”.
In 2015 Startup Competition and Tech Expo have been added to IT Arena. Since then, Startup Depot, the community hub that kickstarts local startups, has been organizing both of them. Max Lysak, Co-Founder of Startup Depot adds: “Startup Depot is a co-organizing IT Arena from the very beginning. We are responsible for the Business stream of the conference starting from preparing the agenda, making the list of potential speakers and actually communicating and inviting them to Lviv. Also, we’re promoting the Business stream together with our partners in different cities. Moreover, we’re organizing Startup Competition – inviting and selecting startups, cooperating with IT hubs, co-workings etc in different cities. Another part of the conference we are responsible for is Tech Expo. It is an exposition of products designed or produced in Ukraine. We’re expanding it to 100 participants this year. We’re also inviting investment foundations from all over the world. It’s a great possibility to introduce startups to them”.
Ivan Shulba, CEO of LITS comments:
“This year LITS has greatly expanded its contribution the to the organization of IT Arena. We are not only providing responsible and reliable volunteers but also inviting star-speakers, who are recognized and highly experienced professionals. Moreover, we are in charge of a big Kids Area – the place where parents will be able to leave their children under the supervision of Lits4kids’ school teachers. Kids will be involved in IT by learning to code in a playful form and developing their abstract thinking”.
N-iX has always supported the event, but this year the company will be involved as a co-organizer and will be responsible for the content. They plan to invite expert speakers from different industries and technology domains, as well as share their experience and knowledge. Andrew Pavliv, N-iX CEO and Co-founder, points out:
“N-iX has always tried to promote IT in Ukraine. We were among the founders of Lviv IT Cluster, we have participated in hundreds of events, contributed to the development of IT education and culture in the country. The transformative potential of the industry can’t be underestimated. Therefore, we are extremely proud to co-organize IT Arena this year. N-iX has grown significantly in recent years and we feel we can bring a lot of value to this great event”.
Lviv IT Cluster has been always actively involved in the projects that contribute to the city’s ecosystem, thus, IT Arena immediately seemed as a project they have to take the lead in. Stepan Veselovskyi, Lviv IT Cluster CEO underlines:
“From the very beginning, we understood that IT Arena is an extremely important event not just for the IT environment of the city, but the country as well. It’s growing every year together with the industry. We’re happy that not only the event is growing in size, but the team of organizers is also expanding. This year N-iX joined us and will be co-organizing the conference together with Lviv IT Cluster, Eleks, Startup Depot and LITS. We are working on four main directions of the conference: Knowledge, Growth Hacking, Entertainment, and Networking. IT Arena 2017 will be different in format and larger in scale. I’m confident that it will impress the attendees even more than previous years”.