New shining startup stars – Greenstep supports Ukrainian startups

The winners of the startup competition supported by Greenstep have been selected! The winning startups can all be characterized by staggering innovation and solutions based on real needs. Greensteps experts will have the opportunity to work with the winners also in the future, for example in the field of startup funding.

In spring 2022, the Ukrainian Future business incubator launched a new mentoring program for promising Ukrainian startups. The aim of the program was to create new international opportunities and to strengthen the entrepreneurs hope for the future. Up to 76 startups applied, of which 14 most promising ones were selected to join.

Greenstep supports the program by mentoring the startups and by donating a grant and consulting services to the winners of the pitching competition. Juho Pietilänaho, Greensteps Partner and Head of CFO Services, mentored some of the startups and also judged the pitching competition.

– The group of competitors was diverse in terms of business stage and ideas. However, all of the participating entrepreneurs were highly innovative and their ideas were based on real-life needs," says Pietilänaho.

Scalability and solutions for critical sectors – get to know the winners

The winning startups were selected by an international jury at a virtual pitching event in mid-June. The winners were:

The grand prize was awarded to Knopka. The company has developed a patient care automation system for hospital beds. It ensures that patients receive treatment in a timely manner, shortening their hospital stay and freeing up beds for those who need them next. The jury believes that there is a global demand for Knopka's services and that the startup is well-financiable. The company was also praised for its skilled team and the scalability of its service. Above all, Knopka meets an important criteria for the programme, which is to provide solutions to sectors that are critical in Ukraine that is under a hostile attack.

The consulting services donated by the partners were rewarded to Elai.io. With their text-to-video platform one can create AI-based videos with a real human presence from text only. Videos can be used for educational or marketing purposes, for example. Elaio.io held a convincing and professional pitch and received high praises from the jury about scalability.

Two scholarships were awarded to innovative young start-up entrepreneurs Quadrocpter Mines Detector and Weldless Wind Generator. Igor Klymenko and Yaroslava Polikarpova were praised for their innovative attitude and practical ideas that can build a better tomorrow for Ukraine and the world. Klymenko has developed a mine detecting drone and Yaroslava a new type of wind turbine. Both are in the early stages of their start-up journey, but the jury believes that both young people will be heard from in the future and decided to award them with grants.

Reliable financial management is key to start-up funding and future success

The mentoring that preceded the actual pitching competition was like consulting a start-up company on fast-forward. Each startup was assigned a dedicated mentor to act as a business sparring partner. The focus was on the needs of the fledgling entrepreneur, of course depending on the situation of each startup. The focus was on what the business looks like from an investor's perspective and what the startup should think about in terms of financing in the future.

When an investor is considering whether a startup is worthy of investment, the startup's finances are at the top of the checklist. Since the investor is looking for a return on his investment and the company needs to bring itself up to the level of its valuation, certain things need to be right behind a good business idea.

A reliable financial management partner will help keep the whole thing in order. A start-up benefits from the support of an experienced finance professional in addition to the practical work, as the CFO is like an asset that can be put on the table when talking to potential investors.

At the same time, the expert is a rock that can be relied on in everyday and unexpected situations. A skilled financial professional knows how things work. They know how financiers work.

Successful start-ups need funding – a reliable partner in financial management is like an insurance for the investor

The Empowering Future Entrepreneurial Ukraine programme is a true testament to the innovative power and diversity of the startup scene. Participants included both more mature startups and companies that are almost entirely innovation-based. They have solutions that have emerged in response to real needs in the new, albeit bleak, situation in Ukraine. The changed situation has forced a new way of thinking.

Greenstep will support the winners in the area of financial management services. Pietilänaho says that the use of the donated consultancy services will be agreed depending on the specific needs of the start-up. Pietilänaho, who has been involved in more than 100 funding rounds, will bring his extensive experience accessible to the Ukrainian start-ups.

The financial expert will be able to solve the dilemmas related to startup financing. Since it is impossible to know in advance whether a company will succeed or not, investors do not want to put all their money on the table at once and companies take advantage of funding rounds. Financial management manages the whole picture and knows how to make ends meet.

Greenstep wishes good luck and success to all the start-ups that participated in the programme!