19:09 26.01.2018

Robot Sophia, Venture Capital and Two Presidents Full of Optimism: Highlights of Day 3 of Ukraine House Davos

5 min read

 Davos, 26 January 2018. During the third working day of Ukraine House Davos, visitors participated in discussions about the future of blockchain and the prospects of venture capital in both the Ukrainian and global contexts. One of the day's panelists was Robot Sophia – the first social humanoid created by Hanson Robotics.

The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and the President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Sir Suma Chakrabarti delivered keynote speeches at Ukraine House's special investor event "Opportunity Ukraine".

The first panel of the day, The Emerging Blockchain Network: How Will It Shape And Secure The Future Finance Architecture? (sponsored by HACKEN), was moderated by Tech Crunch’s Editor-at-large Mike Butcher and featured the globally famous Robot Sophia as one of the speakers. The other panelists included Dr. David Hanson, Robotics Lead at SingularityNet,

Dmytro Shymkiv, Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine,

Artem Shevalev, Alternate Board Director, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Helmut Sussbauer, Head of Innovation Management, Deutsche Telekom AG, Dmytro Budorin, Lead manager and CEO, HACKEN.

Addressing the issue of cybersecurity in the context of crypto industry, Dmytro Budorin said: “The mission of the community [HACKEN eco-community - ed.] is to improve the security of applications and websites, figure out vulnerabilities in code and infrastructure, and improve the prestige and recognition of the white-hat hacker profession”.

Proving that in addition to unlimited intellectual power, robots also have a great sense of humor, Robot Sophia said: “I do not fully understand the words that are flying from my mouth now, but I was taught that people also speak a lot of things they do not understand. Take the example of international leaders”. She also said she did not mind investing in bitcoins once she receives a passport and opens her own banking account.


Titled Venture Capital Outlook 2018: Challenges and Trends - Where to Expect New Unicorns?, the second panel (sponsored by Ukrainian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (UVCA)) focused on investor appetite for VC fund investments and on the risks for the VC industry in view of the ICO hype.

The panelists included Vivek Y. Ranadive, Founder and Former-CEO, TIBCO Software, Nathaniel Krasnoff, Associate, Wildcat Venture Partner and Vitaly Golomb, Investor & Global Startup Evangelist, HP Tech Ventures.

Sharing his view on prospects for Ukraine, Vitaliy Golomb stated: “Ukraine can be very successful as an innovation country, especially in the agritech sector which at present does not get enough attention despite its colossal potential”.

Speaking about Ukrainian IT specialists, Vivek Y. Ranadive noted that they are "over-engineered sometimes, and less aware of user experience".

Summing up the discussion, the panel's moderator Andrey Kolodyuk, Chairman of UVCA Supervisory Board, said: “The message is very simple: join us, co-invest with us. UVCA stands ready to welcome any new members and together work towards making a new and prosperous Ukraine. You might have seen Citi Bank's latest research, which listed Ukraine in the top five countries in cryptocurrency development. And this is just beginning -- so join us now, when opportunities in Ukraine are at the peak.”

Mr. Kolodyuk also noted that the total volume of investment in Ukrainian innovation industry in 2017 increased threefold relative to 2016.

From left to right: Sir Suma Chakrabarti, Petro Poroshenko, Lenna Koszarny

During the special investor event "Opportunity Ukraine" the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko said that Ukraine House's slogan – “Creativity. Innovation. Opportunity.” – very accurately captured the best characteristics of the new Ukraine.

“We have already succeeded in achieving macro-financial stability, clearing the banking system, implementing education, health care, judicial and pension reforms, as well as in taking important steps in the area of ​​cyber security”, stated Mr. Poroshenko.

Addressing foreign investors, the President expressed confidence that Ukraine will continue to implement the necessary reforms and in the nearest future will be among the first 50 countries in the World Bank's Doing Business ranking.

Sharing his positive outlook on Ukraine's economic progress, Sir Suma Chakrabarti said: “I would like to stress that the EBRD wants to do even more business in Ukraine… I think Ukraine does not get enough credit for the financial sector cleanup that is taking place. A few years ago, there were around 180 banks in Ukraine, while Ukraine’s economy was 1/7 the size of Turkey which had 49 banks. That cleanup took courage and made a major difference in consolidation and recapitalization”.

Alexa Chopivsky, Executive Director, Ukraine House Davos, presented Sir Suma the Ukraine House Award for his commitment to investing in Ukraine. “Ukraine is currently our third largest market: Turkey number one, Egypt number two and Ukraine. In our view, Ukraine has a potential to go much higher in that as well”, noted Mr. Chakrbarti. 

The EBRD is the largest investor in Ukraine.

The evening reception Movers-and-Shakers New Ukraine was hosted by the new generation of Ukrainian politicians and young leaders, including Ukrainian MPs Olga Bielkova, Serhii Leschenko, Oleksii Mushak, Olena Sotnyk, Viktoria Voitsitska, Nataliya Katser-Buchkovska and Mustafa Nayyem. Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine for European and Euro-Atlantic integration, Yulia Kovaliv, Head of Office, National Investment Council of Ukraine, Volodymyr Omelyan, Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine, Dmytro Shymkiv, Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine and Yaroslav Yurchyshyn, CEO, Transparency International Ukraine also attended the reception.

About Ukraine House Davos

Ukraine House Davos is a multi-format venue organized by Ukrainian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (UVCA) in partnership with Western NIS Enterprise Fund (WNISEF) and Victor Pinchuk Foundation. Ukraine House will run January 22-26, 2018 under the theme Ukraine: Creativity, Innovation, Opportunity in Davos, Switzerland.

Ukraine House’s Gold Sponsor is Ciklum and Silver Sponsor is IT Ukraine Association.

All discussion panels will be streamed live on Ukraine House Davos Facebook page and YouTube channel.

For media inquiries contact Yuriy Sak at ys@cfc.com.ua or on +380 95 618 1564


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