Despite the ongoing war, Ukrainian startups brought in more than $6 billion in revenue in 2022 — $542 million more than in 2021 — and have tripled in valuation since 2020. Women founders play a vital role in shaping their country’s economic future by continuing to actively grow their companies, enter new markets and raise funding in the midst of war — in many cases, without the support of conscripted male cofounders and employees. Women founded 34% of new tech companies and 51% of all new businesses launched in Ukraine last year. Strapped for time and resources, many of these resilient startup leaders use the power of AI to do more with less.
In honor of Women’s History Month and our programme wrap up, we wanted to hear from three female Google for Startups Ukraine Support Fund recipients using AI technology to build towards economic recovery in Ukraine and create opportunity on a global scale.
Zeely Cofounder and CCO Alina Bondarenko
Alina Bondarenko, Cofounder and CCO at Zeely, a mobile-first growth-marketing app that drives more business revenue for entrepreneurs
"In Ukraine, as in most other countries, small businesses play a crucial role in fostering new employment opportunities. However, Ukrainian small business owners now encounter significant challenges, such as lacking the ability to expand, having limited resources, lacking brand recognition, and insufficient reserves. Zeely’s helped more than 8,000 small and micro-entrepreneurs sell online from their phones to attract new clients and generate new revenue. Thanks to AI, business owners can build web stores on their phones with just a few user-friendly tools and run marketing campaigns that drive almost immediate results."
Skyworker.ai Cofounder Lidiya Terpel
Lidiya Terpel, Cofounder of Skyworker.ai, a hiring platform connecting tech talent & developers to companies
“Skyworker is like an AI copilot that recruits tech talent for companies. Skyworker's technology screens applicants to identify candidates who match each company’s needs, and also finds relevant talent beyond the platform. With AI, we bring needed talent onto the platform, qualify them, and set up interviews. 35,000+ candidates have already signed up and they return to Skyworker.ai six times a year to swipe on jobs from more than 800 companies that match their criteria.
In Ukraine, many candidates lost their jobs and can't find new ones as few local companies are hiring. So we need to help them find foreign companies that offer remote work directly. Thanks to AI, we can show companies around the world that there are many qualified professionals in Eastern Europe working at an affordable rate, especially in Ukraine.”
Mindly Cofounder & COO Maria Smerechuk
Maria Smerechuk, Cofounder & COO of Mindly, an online mental health platform that connects clients to licensed therapists
““AI is the only way we can make mental health therapy truly accessible to all. With the shortage of qualified therapists, and the relatively high expenses of therapy sessions, AI can help scale and support the work of therapists in so many ways. Of the 15,000+ people using Mindly, nine in 10 found their therapist the first time on our AI-powered platform.
We are building out our AI features because Mindly is now in a position to help millions of people, create jobs, and have a real positive macro impact on the Ukrainian economy and the world as we know it. Our goal for 2030 is to help make one billion lives healthy, happy and fulfilling through psychology.”