AI, IoT and Big Data Ukrainian Startups That Took Over the World
Sometimes it’s hard to imagine us all being even more interconnected than we already are – we can see and hear our friends and families with a quick press of a button, no matter where in the world they are, we can get food delivered to our doorstep just telling a little robot “Alexa, order Chinese.”, we can take a photo with our phone and share it for the whole world of strangers to see. Yet these are in fact just the basic levels to which we can integrate our lives with technology.
Machine learning, Big Data analytics, Artificial Intelligence software development and Internet of Things have made giant steps forward in the past 10 years and uncovered a whole new world of opportunities for humans to control, monitor and optimize their lives.
Ukraine is one of the places with the highest tech talent concentration in the world, so naturally, new technology ideas shoot out of the country at an immense software development companies speed and frequency. It has become home to numerous data science startups, big data startups and artificial intelligence startups. Ukrainian market has also produced a few big data analytics startups like Avenga and Light IT. Not all make it to world fame and application, but some do and the rest just contribute to the general betterment of the industry.
There are particular spheres in which the use of the newest technologies is especially popular. AI and Big Data are used generously in banking, transport and retail areas. As an example, a Ukrainian retailer called Foxtrot implemented a neural network to manage prices of its 10 shops. The software took note of shelf prices, discounts, competitors’ prices, back stock, seasons and even staff motivation. At the end of the experiment the average monthly income across stores increased by 16% and sales grew by 14%.
In Kyiv, a project called Kyiv Smart City was launched in an attempt to turn the capital into an innovative megapolis using Big Data, IoT and AI. There was also Ukraine’s first collaborative Internet of Things laboratory established in 2017, and in 2019, the IoT network evolved and went beyond Kyiv, to Lviv, and Kropyvnytskyi. Today in Ukraine Internet of Things is frequently utilized in transport, logistics, finances, and security systems.
The Ukrainian tech industry has rightfully secured its leading position on the world’s market of both IT professionals and innovative ideas, hence all the artificial intelligence and data analytics startups. Development and integration of breakthrough technologies have put Ukraine on the IT map of the world and has allowed some serious inflow of funds to the country’s various industries, thus allowing Ukraine to invest even more in education and producing talent eagerly sought internationally.
Here are a few of the startups that made it big on the global arena, having started in Ukraine:
In mid-September, this app developed by Ukrainian engineers from RefaceAI (former Neocortext) placed first on the list of the American App Store. It had been out for about 7 months climbing to its world popularity, and the top line of US App Store specifically, is considered to be their biggest success to date.
Reface is an app based on the use of Deepfake technology where a user can replace a face on a photo, GIF or, now, even a video with their own. The next step for the team of Ukrainian developers is to make real-time face replacing possible in videos. For now, inserting yourself into a viral GIF or video takes seconds and it’s ready to be shared on any social media.
Comparing to other Deepfake technologies out there, Reface the only one of the artificial intelligence startups that uses a slightly more prodigious one where instead of needing many examples of a person’s face to create a face model, Reface created a universal neural network that can work with just one photo and create a digital model of a person’s face in just seconds.
The app has gone wild on the interwebs and already reached 20 million downloads and endorsements from stars like Snoop Dogg, Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, Elon Musk and Dua Lipa.
IntelSoft Technologies is a startup dealing with slightly more serious matters and develops intelligent software to help businesses ease and optimize their daily operations in terms of cost-cutting and performance improvement.
These are Ukrainian developers with extensive experience and deep background in data science, mathematical modelling and artificial intelligence, putting their academic and empirical knowledge into optimizing business operations.
This is one of those data science startups that make data science accessible by providing businesses with easy-to-use intelligent software solutions entirely customized to their high-value tasks. The software can build predictive models on-the-fly and make some decision-making processes completely automated which can save a lot of resources for the business. The startup focuses but doesn’t limit their services to industries such as banking, insurance, TelCo, healthcare, electric power, retail and manufacturing.
Petcube is one of the first Ukrainian hardware-based startups that got traction abroad. The founders of the projects are big pet-lovers and wanted to create a robot pal for pets who are home alone while their owners are out all day. The gadget created by Alex Neskin, Yaroslav Azhnyuk and Andrey Klen is a small cubic robot equipped with a wide-angle high-def camera, speakers and low-intensity lasers. The owners can talk to their furry friends and hear them react, control the lasers and play, take pictures of their pets, share those on social media and dispense treats all on their phone while they’re away.
There are also additional perks with separate subscriptions like PetCube Care, PetCube Bites and PetCube Play. This toy-friend has helped countless numbers of pets to battle separation anxiety and help owners to be more at ease when they have to leave their pals at home. The alert function also provides for additional security and lets the pet owners know in real-time about potentially dangerous events by recognizing meowing and barking. PetCube also has a built-in Amazon Alexa now and you can ask her to entertain your pet, too.
This is a startup based in both Kyiv and San-Francisco but operates only on the US territory. Allset started in 2015 as a restaurant app created to battle the lunch waiting-times and the frustration of not having enough cash to tip properly. There were just 12 restaurants in San-Francisco and Palo Alto partnering with Allset first. By 2016 those restaurants were 160 and NYC joined the platform as a base. In 2020 the number of partner restaurants has risen well over 1700 and the service is now available in 18 US cities.
Allset lets their users quickly book a table in their favorite restaurant, order ahead and have their food brought to them right as they arrive – whether it’s for dine-in or pick up, choose healthier food options with the hand-curated menus available and enjoy exclusive deals, daily specials and rewards from their favorite places.
The app is also a treasure find for restaurants because it lets busy diners serve more customers with maximum attention given to every one of them. Statistically, the time a customer spends at the restaurant if using Allset is less than 30 minutes, so the turnover rates are high, hence more business for the establishment.
This startup rooted in the depths of Eastern Europe has attracted over $20 million in investment capital over 3 years and has been helping about the same amount of people with their writing in English.
Grammarly is an AI-powered writing assistant that helps users all over the globe improve their English writing skills as they write anything from emails to poetry. The purpose of the software which can be just a simple extension for Google Chrome is to navigate anyone who is typing up words on their device through the jungle of writing. Grammarly uses cutting-edge technologies of machine learning and deep learning, perpetually updating and improving their natural language processing (NLP) mechanisms.
The worth of this app goes far beyond grammar – it will analyze the tone of your emails and help make your presentation more concise and to-the-point. There are specialized products, too, such as Grammarly Business intended to help at the workplace and Grammarly@edu for educational institutions. Today Grammarly offers a real-time writing assistant that helps you as you type, through browser extensions, a web-based editor, a Microsoft Office add-in, a desktop interface, and mobile keyboards.
TripMyDream is a product of one brain stuck in the head of a Ukrainian man who one day looked around and asked himself how he can make people’s travel experiences better. Andrey Burenok together with his business partner Taras Polushchuk, a talented programmer, spent a year creating a database with travel information about destinations and their operations that turned out to be very difficult to access for an average self-planner vacationist.
The app contains a whole spectrum of information – from a price of a cup of coffee to the schedule of the mountain funicular, to whether the beach you’re going to is sandy or pebbled and what the water temperature is going to be once you arrive. All the aspiring traveller needs to do is input a destination, dates and a budget for their trip and the app will calculate optimal trip options with a 10% margin of error.
The company makes money on commissions it takes from the partner businesses it directs the users to once they’ve planned their journeys through the app.
Born in Odesa, Ukraine in 2010, Augmented Pixels is a company creator of a uniquely progressive simultaneous localization and mapping technology (SLAM SDK) optimized for low CPU usage. The software allows for maximally accurate autonomous navigation for drones and robots where a GPS would fail to get the precise navigation or is simply not allowed to do that. The other product Augmented Pixels offer is real-time SLAM for Mobile Phones and AR/VR Glasses.
By 2015 the team moved to Palo Alto, CA and got a $1 million in funding from The Hive. The technology allows the accuracy to reach a sub-millimeter level with low latency and extremely efficient global localization. These products allow the industries using or providing robot/drone-based services to lower labor costs and make the navigation precision state-of-the-art. When it comes to flying and moving in practically uncharted territory, every micrometer counts.
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