Sergey Kartashov: Ukrainian IT has caught an experimental wave but it still lacks courage


IT is a new landmark of the Ukrainian market. This is a fait accompli. Nevertheless, we approached Sergey Kartashov, Senior Partner at technology company Roosh, to find out what factors contributed to such a rapid breakthrough and what Ukraine is still lacking. Let us start with achievements.

Sergey Kartashov- Ukrainian IT has caught an experimental wave but it still lacks courage

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Successful initiatives generate new projects and ideas. Young visionaries, looking at Ukrainian giants like Grammarly or Reface, realize that everything is possible. The same applies to investments. Money makes even more money. Figures prove it. Even the pandemic did not manage to harm the Ukrainian IT industry. Over the past three years, the market has grown by more than 30 percent to reach $571 million.

Sergey Kartashov calls it a chain reaction. In Ukraine, people are no longer afraid of experimenting, the entrepreneur says. Roosh has also cast fears aside. Its venture studio, Pawa, seeks the most daring ML startups, while the educational ecosystem AI House unites novices and ML/AI pro in a common community. Such symbiosis promotes successful experiments, Sergey believes.

However, specialists do not appear out of anywhere. Someone should raise them. Sergey Kartashov is sure the state is not up to this task. Private educational projects initiated by IT corporations in need of quality personnel come to the rescue.

Private schools teach not only programming. Since the employer knows better what skills are needed on the market.

No matter how talented a team may be, a startup is doomed to failure if the founders are unable to obtain funds and manage them properly, do not know how to register a company, or start scaling it up. Do not be confused by the word IT. For an investor, programming and managerial skills are equally important.

“With the development of the IT ecosystem, community, and a competent approach to education, the founders will have more knowledge, confidence, and opportunities to launch new projects and to experiment. Probably, most of the ideas will fail. But something will “make a hit” so much that it will become a landmark for Ukraine, like, for example, Reface,” Sergey Kartashov points out.

Yes, you heard that right: most initiatives are bound to fail. And that is okay. American investors provide startupers with a margin for error. Create and attract investments as much as you like. Since out of a million projects only one may be needed to offset all investments in spades. Thus, developers keep on creating new Apples or Amazons, with their hands and mind free.

Ukrainian investors are hesitating to adopt this Western culture. But you cannot blame them. Local business climate leaves much to be desired.

“Firstly, the fears of external investors to put their money in Ukrainian startups are due to a lack of understanding of the local legislation and the negative reputation of a corrupt state. Secondly, the environment is affected by the lack of a comfortable tax system for the IT industry that has analogs successfully used by many other countries,” Kartashov explains.

Fortunately, there are attempts to fix the situation. Public initiative Diia City is one of them. In simple terms, the government has introduced a special regime for the IT industry, which will make the conduct of business easier and the Ukrainian market more attractive. The formula is quite simple: a comfortable tax burden and clear legislation.

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