New York-based Venture Capital (ffVC), an early-stage venture firm, has launched the ff Blue & Yellow Heritage Fund. This is the first US venture capital fund targeted exclusively for Ukrainian founders and startups. Recently, Ukrainian companies Preply and AirSlate bagged funding.
Fund to support Ukrainian startups
With a target of $50 million, the Fund has received early commitments for $30 million from leading institutional, family offices and corporate investors. The VC firm has a signed memorandum with the Ukrainian government and provides access to ffVC‘s extensive network of Ukrainian entrepreneurs.
This fund will support Ukrainian startups facing unprecedented challenges from the Russian invasion, while enabling breakthrough technology from an emerging innovation hub. The Blue & Yellow Heritage Fund will invest in startups led by Ukrainian founders, startups relocated from Ukraine and startups that employ Ukrainian refugees.
The fund will prioritise providing offices and resources for Ukrainian startups relocating across Central and Eastern Europe and creating jobs for refugees, while accelerating long-term technology development in areas critical to Ukrainian development. Additionally, all investments will include strong oversight and governance controls.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in prepared remarks to be delivered at the SALT New York 2022 conference said, “Ukraine is the biggest economic project of postwar reconstruction in our lifetime. You may ask how you can get involved. My answer is: invest. Invest in Ukrainian companies and startups. Support funds that help Ukrainian talent.”
Mykhailo Fedorov, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation said, “Tech companies strongly support the economy of Ukraine. They will become the future recovery of our country. So we have to help existing companies and encourage the development of new ones. ffVC’s Blue and Yellow Heritage Fund will play an important role in this. It will invest in our startups and specialists when it is most needed.”
Kyiv-based Respeecher CEO Alex Serdiuk said, “ffVC’s network and expertise has helped Respeecher avoid any disruption of operations and even grow our customer base during the invasion. They’re providing tremendous value not only by accelerating our business, but also by empowering the broader Ukrainian entrepreneurship community.”
Why this focus on Ukraine?
ffVC is led by an international management team composed of industry experts in the fields of financial services, insurance technologies, software, digital media, manufacturing, retail, and automation technologies. It is claimed to be one of the few US VC firms with established operations in Central and Eastern Europe.
Ukraine is known for world-class innovation and investment success, including the invention of the harddrive, the market-leading software development platform Gitlab and the messaging platform WhatsApp, now owned by Meta. Recent unicorns built by Ukrainian entrepreneurs include Affirm, Gitlab, Grammarly and People.ai, amidst the war.