СfE Accelerator in 2022 and goals for 2023 - CfE Accelerator

СfE Accelerator in 2022 and goals for 2023

How has everything gone in the CfE Accelerator in 2022 and what are its plans for 2023? 

Ivan Petrenko, CEO of CfE Accelerator about how the russian invasion of Ukraine’s territory influences the accelerator’s activity, its challenges, achievements, goals for the next year, and, in general, forecasts for the development of the Ukrainian startup ecosystem. 


🔹Let’s begin with how the war influenced the startup ecosystem in general. What were the biggest challenges for the Ukrainian startups in 2022, what do you think?


🗨 First of all, a lot of startups moved abroad. The ones that stayed either returned to more familiar and financially stable projects, say, IT outsourcing, or started volunteering, which is very typical for startups and appeals to their active position in life.

There were a lot of challenges. For lots of teams, testing their own product and access to the Ukrainian market became practically irrelevant due to its reduction due to the war. They had to reformat very quickly to other markets, which is sometimes difficult due to the impossibility of going abroad, lack of experience, and lack of understanding of foreign consumers. Among other obstacles, we can mention the stoppage of investments in Ukraine in the first half of the year and blackouts. 


🔹How did the war influence the CfE Accelerator and its further vision of future development? What has changed completely? 


🗨 Since a full-scale invasion, CfE Accelerator has been suspended, but we are proud to be able to resume it, hosting accelerations and other events. Today, in addition to the fact that the number of startups has decreased, it has become more difficult for teams to stay focused. With this in mind, we understand that programs should be shorter and less intense.

Our team will continue to plan active development of events and initiatives, but we want to focus a lot of attention on the initial stages, i.e. pre-acceleration programs, in order to develop the startup culture and entrepreneurial mindset among a wider audience.


🔹What are your predictions for the development of the startup industry in the near future?


🗨 The market is slowly starting to revive. Of course, there will not be such rapid growth until the end of the war, however, startups related to military technologies are especially actively developing now. All other startups will, unfortunately, focus more on global markets and find ways to enter them even faster than before.

If we talk about investments, there are currently more than enough venture capital funds in Ukraine. And the biggest problem is the difficulty in finding strong teams with a competitive product and the ability to scale.


🔹Analyzing the participants of various programs from СfE accelerator, what are the strongest points of the teams, and what are the gaps?


🗨 Traditionally, the strongest point of the participants of both our accelerator and the industry in general is a strong technical background. We have competitive developers, engineers, so the teams usually have a very well-developed product and its functionality. However, they often lack so-called soft skills, the ability to present themselves, to sell in the broadest sense of the word, to use marketing, communication and fundraising tools, as well as market research, in particular similar solutions, before even starting to develop products/services. And these are precisely the skills we focus on in our programs. 


🔹 What industries are most often chosen by Ukrainian stand-up founders and what are most rare?


🗨 The most popular are Healthcare Technology, Educational Technology and E-commerce (electronic commerce, development of marketplaces). I would also add here AgroTech or Food Technology, anything related to Web 3.0 (NFT, Cryptocurrency, Blockchain) and the aforementioned field of Military Technology.

But we lack scientific startups, for example, in the areas of DeepTech, BioTech, MedTech and SpaceTech. These are the industries that are rapidly expanding abroad and in which, unfortunately, we still do not know how to attract scientists and implement innovations.


🔹 What is the biggest achievement of the CfE Accelerator in 2022 in your opinion? 


🗨 We are glad that in such difficult times, we managed to restore and conduct pre-acceleration and acceleration programs, student acceleration in IdeasLab, a number of events, including several Meetups4Startups, where more than 100 participants gathered each time. 

It is our greatest praise and pride that some of the teams that have gone through our programs have been able to raise investment this year. And no less important is the tangentiality of the CfE Accelerator to the launch of the angel venture capital fund Angel One at UCU this November.


🔹 What are the goals of the CfE accelerator for 2023?


🗨 Do not stop, but only gain momentum. In addition to the usual pre-acceleration and acceleration programs, monthly Meetups4Startups and other events, we also plan a number of bootcamps with foreign partners for scaleup (startups at later stages of development). In addition, over the next year, we have a specific intention to make about six investments of up to $30,000 into the best teams of our acceleration programs.


🔹 Name the top 3 reasons why people should participate in the acceleration from the CfE Accelerator? 


🗨 First of all, it is a high-quality and powerful program, which is confirmed by the success stories of teams that have undergone acceleration in the CfE accelerator. Our alumni were attracted to more than 1 million dollars of investments in their projects. Secondly, the opportunity to receive investments from both the СfE accelerator and the angel venture fund Angel One. Thirdly, it is networking and access to a wide network of mentors, experts from both СfE accelerator and UCU Business School and UCU in general. In particular, we already have an agreement with our partners about the opportunity for the best teams immediately after the end of the war to spend up to 3 months in the USA (San Francisco, Boston) or Canada (Toronto), where we will help them organize meetings with representatives of local start-up ecosystems Also, after the victory, we are planning such agreements with the European community of startups thanks to our base of partners and friends of UCU.


We are glad that the start-up market is gradually coming to life and, despite the difficult times, more and more success stories of Ukrainian founders are appearing. We believe that the Ukrainian startup ecosystem has great potential, and we will do everything to promote its development.