Sergey Tokarev: Ukrainian IT Projects Must Demonstrate Predictability to Attract Foreign Investments

Sergey Tokarev: Ukrainian IT Projects Must Demonstrate Predictability to Attract Foreign Investments

Developing transparent reservation (exempting) employees from mobilization and organizing business travel processes for technical specialists is a top priority for Ukraine. Sergey Tokarev, IT entrepreneur and Co-founder of Roosh Investment Group, writes about this in his op-ed for the Ukrainian media Ekonomichna Pravda. He emphasizes that the challenges associated with crossing the borders of the country are currently the biggest obstacle for the Ukrainian IT sector since live communication with representatives of tech companies is crucial for investors.

"Product presentations, discussing deals with new partners, major tech events—all of this is currently unavailable for Ukrainians in offline format. And we understand that Zoom calls can never fully replace offline education interactions or live communication with the international community. All of this hinders cooperation with international companies," notes Tokarev.

The author underscores that IT specialists generate the majority of foreign currency inflows into Ukraine. Ukrainians understand that the war with Russia will not end anytime soon, which is why they need to focus on earning money to get weapons for the country. To achieve this, it is crucial to develop and implement transparent legal mechanisms for reserving employees from mobilization and organizing business trips.

Another problem for Ukrainian tech professionals is the lack of international promotion. Foreign investors have many concerns about collaborating with Ukrainians, as they struggle to understand the situation in the country, whether Western regions in Ukraine are safe, and whether mobile and internet connection is stable.

To attract investments into Ukrainian projects and companies, it is essential to demonstrate predictability to potential investors. Ukrainian tech entrepreneurs should explain that their teams have relocated to safer areas and that their offices are equipped with shelters and reliable internet connection. Sergey Tokarev notes that predictability in working with Ukrainians includes the possibility for experts to travel abroad.

Despite the challenges faced by the Ukrainian IT industry during the war, there is noticeable interest from foreign investors in Ukrainian projects. In 2023, deep-tech company Zibra AI secured $500,000 in funding from the Speedrun a16z accelerator. Haiqu, a startup that works with quantum software development, received $4 million in investments, and the edtech platform Preply—$70 million.

"This once again proves that if the technologies developed by a startup are cutting-edge and there is potential in them, an investor will consider investing in the project. It is important to communicate the risks upfront instead of waiting for the investor to inquire about them. Ukraine has the potential to become a leader in the global tech market. It is demonstrated by the development of the Ukrainian IT sector, which has not been halted by the full-scale war," emphasizes Sergey Tokarev.

Addressing the challenges currently faced by the Ukrainian tech industry, the Diia.City tax regime plays a significant role. This space was developed in early 2022 by the state and the IT business. Today, among its residents there are 847 companies that doubled their tax payments to ₴8.5 billion in one year.

In February 2024, some residents of Diia.City formed the union Diia.City United to establish clear and fair rules for developing the technological business in Ukraine. Members of this newly created union include Ajax, MacPaw, Monobank, Roosh, Genesis, and Netpeak Group. The union aims to facilitate the more efficient operation of tech companies, foster dialogue between the government and businesses, as well as advocate the interests of companies and protect them.

As Sergey Tokarev writes, improving the business climate and the active presence of the Ukrainian technological sector on the international stage will help create a powerful and progressive Ukraine.