Eastern Europe has brought countless fresh talents to the international tech stage. Arrival, Badoo, in Driver, Nexters, Personio, TradingView, Veeam Software, Wrike, GitLab, Grammarly, PandaDoc, Revolut, and Miro to name a few. Every year, Eastern-European entrepreneurs bring promising products to the market in the hopes of becoming the new unicorn.
Now, many flee their homes in order to give life to ventures that have the ability to transform the world as we know it. Every unicorn was once an idea, an MVP, and an early-stage project striving for the stars through hardships.
The situation today is no exception. Founders are dedicated to growing their ventures and transmuting their products in the midst of facing the new complex geopolitical reality. However, this is not a political opinion piece; rather, it is an article about those who are not scared to innovate in the wake of economic, political, and psychological turmoil.
Burning Heroes Founders Association was born out of the intention of ensuring equal access for founders from all across the globe...
We voluntarily assist the most skilled individuals with fundraising and networking. Each year, we notice a prominent increase in the proficiency and dedication levels of East-European startups.
Many of these founders I know personally - others as active members of the emerging start-up community. They brought extensive expertise, hard and soft skills from various industries intending to launch never-before-seen unicorns and create exciting international products, despite anything that might be going on." - Anna Deynego, CEO, Burning Heroes Founders Association
Vice President of Product
Co-Founder at Aitarget
After completing a master's degree in Computer Science at Bauman State Technical University, Nikita decided to continue his education in the UK with Hyper Island school to further foster his communication and marketing skills.
In 2013, he Co-Founded Aitarget - a leading marketing automation software that helps companies of different sizes to automate their work. Complicated AI and ML approaches help not only improve results by bidding strategies but also generate image and video visual content that outperforms competitors.
Nikita Rvachev's vision has changed the way global marketers create content for consumers, and raised the standard of excellence, confirmed and commemorated with prestigious awards such as the Facebook Innovation Spotlight.
"I believe that technologies will change the way we consume marketing content. Today, only 1-2 impressions of 100 resulted in clicks, meaning that most of the impressions were not driving any sales. With the help of AI, we will be able to show 50 times fewer ads, but they would be super relevant, and end up in a conversion"
Machine Learning Expert,
Founder of Suggesty, co-founder of Myna Labs
After receiving his bachelor's degree in Machine Learning, Yurii secured an offer from Google and relocated to New York. There he worked on creating new functionality for Google Docs, now utilized by millions.
In 2019, he developed the Centaur speech generation model, which became a part of Nvidia's OpenSeq2Seq machine learning framework, gathering more than 350 forks on GitHub.
Yurii later got an offer from Lyft and other global top tech companies, but being a founder at heart, he launched Myna Labs, which now develops state-of-the-art machine learning technology for face and voice swap.
"Machine Learning technologies help achieve incredible results across all domains. One day, it will be hard to imagine a product without AI."
These technologies served as the foundation for entertainment apps with hundreds of thousands of downloads worldwide. In 2022, he released Suggesty, a Google Chrome plugin that supplements Google's response to user queries. Within a week, the plugin had reached 1,000 DAUs and received Product Hunt's product of the day award. Yurii is now looking for new insights and launching new tech products that are absolutely worth a look.
CEO & Founder of Triggim
Eugene has been developing software since he was 15 years old. In 2010, he graduated from the Belarusian state university of informatics and radio electronics as a mathematician-programmer. Eugene's first startup was a local social network, Opa, which became the most popular blogging platform in Belarus. Eugene created the most functional platform for creating online stores - Digistr - Shopify in Belarus.
In 2021, Eugene brought to market a tool for creating chatbots in Instagram Slashstart, which showed more than 50% monthly growth, but after March Instagram became virtually inaccessible for most entrepreneurs in Russia.
Eugene established his fourth startup, Triggim.com, in August 2022. It will be a service ecosystem for Influencers and entrepreneurs whose businesses rely on marketing and sales through social networks and messengers.
"My goal is to help entrepreneurs break free from the technological shackles of social media marketing, so they can focus on their followers and their favorite activities."
We anticipate Triggim.com to gain as much traction as Evgeny's prior endeavors.
Founder of Levelty.app
Although Gleb had graduated in 2022, he already had outstanding venture experience: in 2020, together with the startup ecosystem team Rocket DAO, he launched an investment club, which assisted 700 startups in acquiring funding; by 2021, he was developing the investment analytics department at Impact Capital.
While still a student, Gleb evaluated over 6,000 tech companies, assisting in the raising of over $5 million for early-stage startups.
In the pursuit of creating a product suited for the new generations, Gleb founded Levelty, a gamified planner and goal-tracking system for parents and children.
"We believe that through play and peer-to-peer dialogue, we can help create the generation of the future."
With such dedication, the product is destined to be global, and staying in local markets would be simply stifling.
Founder of Leadhero
Iuliia began her career in IT as a product designer, creating high-volume services for fintech startups (Tezis, Kript). Iuliia joined the super-app City Troika team (Russia's largest transport card-based loyalty program) in 2019 and was promoted to Head of Product a year later.
Under her guidance, the company rebranded and fully revamped the product's functionality and collaborated with the largest retail partner, the Magnit store chain.
With 100 million euros in total user transactions, the activity became an event in Russian retail. Iuliia received funding for her MarTech startup Leadhero.tech in 2020. The firm has received three rounds of funding and has monthly traction of 30%.
However, IT is not just numbers to Iuliia. For her, working in tech is about the limitless possibilities this field continues to offer to the global community.
"Now we can get free education and learn about real-time events firsthand. IT allows all of this to happen. Access to technology can demolish propaganda, dispel preconceptions, and bring people together to address global problems."
Iuliia now works on her own projects and consults companies, assisting entrepreneurs in creating user-first solutions.
Software Engineer & Marketing Specialist
CEO & Founder of Vi.Wine
Alexey received his programming diploma in 2007. He has always been interested in marketing, namely search engine optimization. As the Head of SEO at the digital agency Ailove, Alexey has delivered industry-leading results, including a 40-fold increase in search traffic to the Leroy Merlin online store in just under two years.
In 2021 Alexey launched Vi.Wine - a service that allows users to select wine and order it from a variety of retailers. Their search and filter settings allow you to choose the right wine for a specific request.
"Our mission is to make the choice easy even for people who are not familiar with the world of wine."
The service is readily available in several countries and is currently going through AI implementation.
Alexey hopes to expand Vi.Wine to more than 20 nations by the end of 2025, since it has already proven to be a successful venture with the number of service users increasing by 20% - 30%, and the number of commodities growing by 5% - 10% each month.
Founder of FindBelay
In his first year of university, Amir began working with FTechnologies, creating software interfaces and CRM systems for insurance industry heavyweights. After receiving an offer from Pearl, Amir started his own Java library that optimized graphic marker printing, lowering paper consumption and saving about 200 trees each year.
After completing over 2,000 successful transactions in corporate finance, assessing and investing in both public FAANGs and small private enterprises, Amir went to consulting and overseeing projects with budgets ranging from $20M to $50M.
With a better world in mind, when he was only 23 years old, Amir established FindBelay, a platform that delivers customized insurance based on an individual's life, environment, and decisions.
"I founded FindBelay intending to make insurance more affordable, tailored, and understandable for consumers without needless overspending or hazards. Rather than focusing solely on the individual, we concentrate on societal needs as a whole."
Product manager./ Operations
CEO & Founder of DreamTim
After studying Physics, Ivan pursued his Ph.D. in Computer Science at CERN's Large Hardon Collider (Geneva, Switzerland).
Later, Ivan gave up his Ph.D. after winning the Helsinki hackathon to focus on his startup. Thus was established ChatFirst, one of Europe's first business chatbot platforms, and has now been used by over 100,000 company employees.
At the same time, Ivan served as Product Manager of internal products and Head of Operations for other firms. This enabled him to obtain expertise in the operations of and procedures for scaling, helping startups that went through YCombinator and 500startups in maintaining their operations, while growing five to sevenfold a year.
In 2022, Ivan released DreamTim, a care and engagement tool for remote employees that use corporate avatars. From the start, the company has been focused on the global market.
"The CIS has a strong technological foundation and many capable developers, but limited experience in bringing products to the global market. Entering the worldwide market was repeatedly postponed in our projects. That is no longer an issue."
The Eastern European founders' community is full of passion, vigor, and most importantly - expertise. It is impossible to deny that these startups hold huge potential for creating innovative products capable of reshaping society, and business, as we know it.