How a Ukrainian consultant built a bridge between Ukrainian start-ups and UK investors

With a staff of 10 people in Kyiv and three in London, Vimes is a boutique consultancy that connects British and EU VCs and investors with Ukrainian tech and IT start-ups. The typical investment in a company is 50,000-100,000 GBP of seed capital.

Dmitriy Gilgur founded the firm in 2012; he began as a solo consultant initially focused on private equity investment and later added venture capital.

What is the attitude of British and EU VC’s and investors regarding investment in Ukrainian tech start-ups?  “They are open, very open,” says Mr Gilgur.

“VC’s in Europe are sitting on a pile of money and everybody is looking for the next big thing. It’s up to Ukrainian start-ups to show themselves and put their best foot forward. And they need to do this on an ongoing basis.”

Since its beginning, the Vimes annual startup pitch event in London has helped potential investors better understand the unique opportunity of working with Ukrainian startups in such segments as FinTech, blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT).

The latest event, jointly organised by VimesVC and Techstars took place in July 2018 at the venue of the Barclays Accelerator and featured four Ukrainian companies selected out of 70 applicants. The Ukrainian startups that pitched their products were TechNovatorCoinyPaySkillonomy and Animal-id.

In addition, there was one London-based non-tech startup founded by a Russian/Ukrainian, Emop.

There were about 70 attendees from the investment community.  “There was very positive feedback from the VC’s who attended the event and they’re actually working with some of the start-ups,” said Mr Gilgur.

What does Gilgur consider when he selects a company for the roadshow? “We have one primary criteria. Have you had any sales?  Our minimum volume of sales is 100,000+ GBP per year. And, the company has to have an international appeal.”

Company management is also screened to make sure that no one has a “questionable reputation” and is professional and dedicated to their product.  Some of the areas covered by this year’s startups included payments systems, personal data and wireless charging.

Blockchain is a thread that ran through many of their products.