Where Are They Now? IT Arena Startup Winners 2019-2023

June 5, 2024

Clinching victories in world-renowned startup competitions, collaborating with the Armed Forces of Ukraine, providing their product for the G20 summit, Startup Competition alumni make us proud of Ukrainian talent. In this article, we’ll delve into the remarkable journeys of the winners from the Startup Competition 2019-2023.

2023 winner – S.Lab

What is it: The startup offers a complete replacement for polystyrene with eco-packaging made from mushrooms and hemp. Additionally, S.Lab manufactures furniture from these materials. While polystyrene is not recyclable at all, S.Lab’s packaging is an organic product that decomposes in just 30 days.

Then: S.Lab became the winner of the Startup Competition in 2023, receiving $10,000 from IT Arena. Additionally, the team secured investments from three different funds: $100,000 from ZAS Ventures, $10,000 from angel investor Sasha Reminny, and €100,000 from Vesna Capital.

Later, S.Lab achieved first place in the Pre-seed category at the Startup Nights Winterthur Pitching Competition, the largest startup event in Switzerland. They also made it to the top 10 best startups at the PITCH competition by Web Summit. S.Lab was included in Forbes Ukraine’s list of the 25 most promising startups with a good chance of reaching a billion-dollar valuation by 2030 and was recognized as Startup of the Year by the Ukrainian Startup Fund. Additionally, S.Lab won the Green Alley Award, Europe’s only startup prize specifically for the circular economy.

What now: in 2024, S.Lab co-founder and CEO Yuliya Bialetska became the first Ukrainian woman to receive the prestigious Women Innovators award from the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, winning in the Female Leadership category . Additionally, S.Lab was among the 50 most promising startups at the Fifty Founders Battle – TechChill’s annual pitch competition.

2023 winner in the defense tech startups category– HIMERA

What is it: A tactical communication system for defense forces featuring compact radio stations.

Then: As the best startup at IT Arena Startup Competition 2023, the team received $10,000.

What now: HIMERA signed an exclusive distribution agreement with the American company Reticulate Micro, which specializes in secure communications. Reticulate Micro will be the supplier of HIMERA G1 Pro tactical secure communication systems in the USA and will also collaborate with other international customers. Additionally, HIMERA raised $525,000 in investments. The funds will be used to scale up production and accelerate the release of new, higher-quality versions of the products supplied to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

2022 winner – WRAP

What is it: An app that automates video production workflows.

Then: The team won the Best Startup Award and a $20,000 prize from IT Arena, CRDF and USF.

What now: The company’s CEO Stephan Skoropadky announced that the team has suspended operations for an indefinite period. They plan to resume work on future projects after the war.

2021 winner – Mosqitter

What is it: The startup is developing innovative gadgets that can be easily installed in any backyard, creating a secure and comfortable environment free of mosquitoes within a fifty-meter radius.

Then: A Kyiv-based team Mosqitter won the Best Startup award, receiving a $20,000 grand prize.

What now: The company has sold 1,000 devices, 20 of which were used at the G20 summit held on September 9-10, 2023 in India. The same year, Mosqitter was accepted into the Techstars San Diego accelerator program with support from San Diego State University. In September, the company raised $200,000 from Lviv’s Angel One Fund. 

Mosqitter has raised $980,000 so far and aims to secure a similar amount to close the funding round. These funds are earmarked for entering the American market, launching a new product called Mosqitter mini, and establishing overseas production. While many components are currently sourced from Ukraine, Mosqitter is working on setting up production in Mexico to streamline supply chains for the US market. 

Olga Diachuk, co-founder and COO of Mosqitter, represented the project at the Entrepreneurial Showcase at the 2024 Economic Outlook Summit, organized by the East Stroudsburg University.

2020 winner Tradomatic

What is it: An online matching platform for agribusiness. Tradomatic helps farmers sell their crops faster, purchase production means, secure financing, and buy/sell land by matching them with buyers and distributors. 

Then: The team won the main prize $10,000 from CDRF Global & IT Arena, as well as a 1-year membership in Platforma Coworking and Mentorship & Access to the Rockstart community. 

What now: In 2021, Tradomatic was acquired by the partner company Barva Invest, which was already an established leader in the agricultural consulting market. The team, led by the new CEO Yuriy Havrylyuk, decided to transition the service from chatbots in Viber and Telegram to a web-based format. One of the services is a map where one can view the purchase and sale prices of agricultural products. Instead of Russia, the map shows the East Siberian Ocean.

The team plans to launch personal accounts so that participants can enter product prices themselves. Additionally, they will add the cost of logistics and maritime freight. Among their goals is to gather the maximum amount of data over the broadest geographical area to create analytics that both large companies and small farmers can use. Tradomatic plans to scale the service to Europe and Latin America. 

Recently, the team entered the YEP accelerator and has already advanced to the second stage.

2019 winner Legal Nodes

What is it:  service that helps clients to automate legal work and reduce costs that would be spent on the in-house lawyers. Customers choose a legal service they need via the platform. Then, the assistant connects customers with a legal expert who helps companies solve their issues. 

Then: In addition to $10,000 from CRDF Global and IT Arena, the startup received a certificate for an acceleration program from Sector X, a travel grant from Cardpay, and a one-year coworking space membership for the whole team at Platforma Coworking.

What now: Legal Nodes entered the top five finalists of the Fifty Founders Battle at the TechChill 2024 conference held in Riga, Latvia. Also, they have been selected for the Google for Startups Accelerator: Women Founders program.

Legal Nodes founders Margarita Sivakova, 29, and Maksym Maliuk, 29, were included in Forbes “30 Under 30” Europe list. In 2022, Margarita Sivakova was already included in the “30 Under 30” list by Forbes Ukraine.

If you want to participate in the Startup Competition but haven’t applied yet, hurry up. The application deadline is June 6. More details here. Push your startup’s fantastic future forward at IT Arena 2024.