You need to get rid of boundaries in your head

Yura Lazebnikov

On December 10 and 11, Yura Lazebnikov made his speech at two forums, the Invest Global Summit 2020 and the UkraineInvest. Members of both events discussed how to attract international investments to Ukraine, what are the advantages of our country for business and how to make it a technological harbor for the whole world.
Here are the main theses of TECHIIA’s co-founder.

About the money that IT projects bring to Ukraine

If you are looking at an ambitious IT project, you need to immediately remove all the borders of all the countries in your head and not focus on any one market.

For a cool project, it is easier to find money in the West, the investment culture is more advanced there. One should not be afraid to leave the infrastructure with offices and workers in Ukraine, while founders should go to the Western markets like locomotives and find money so that they can bring them back to Ukraine.

Someone will tell you that these will not be investments in Ukraine, but in an American, Cypriot, Brazilian, British, or any other enterprise. But this is not necessarily true. Most IT projects have been developing for several years. The money they receive goes to the markets in which these companies operate, in one way or another.

The IT industry creates a huge number of jobs. When a company gets investments in Silicon Valley, Texas, Los Angeles, or elsewhere, some of that money by going into the local market pushes the economy forward. IT specialists buy real estate, they eat, they buy clothes. They make money. Someone accumulates them in order to create a new startup, and again brings some amount of money back to the country, and leaves a certain amount in those jurisdictions where money can make more. It's still hard to say so about Ukraine.

Our country is a great starting point for investing in infrastructure for projects and companies, but it is still not a very good starting point for creating a company that is transparent, understandable for global auditors and potential big round investors.

On how to choose the investment project

There are two areas of investment. The first one is when startups or projects coincide with your current big business, which needs additional perspectives and development. In our case, we are trying to actively invest in projects that will add points to our WePlay Esports direction.

If we take non-core businesses, which are not in our holding, I would not even look at IT expertise. Because we know how to create an IT infrastructure, including legal and financial sides. But a bright green light for investing in an industry and the idea comes from those people who have spent more than one year or a dozen years and deeply understand the market “pain”. These may seem to be the least correlated with IT industries, like light industry, warehouses, medicine, agriculture.

It happens that people who have been hitting the wall for several years trying to solve the problem, and simply do not have enough resources and knowledge (for example, international skills and expertise) come to us. They were trying to solve the problem in the local Ukrainian market, not realizing that their idea has the potential for development in Canada or Brazil. In that case, we also take that project with more confidence, spend money, try to turn it into some kind of selling, money-generating company.

In general, it is impossible to say where to invest. Every day you can find an interesting project or an idea that you can fall in love with. After all, an investor can spend his money as he wants. Even if he is spending money without earning anything.

There are no instructions on how to choose a project in any of the books. We rely more on an intuitive approach. It is confirmed by the expertise of our guys, whom we attract to evaluate, criticize, and only then we make a decision.

On how to make Ukraine an IT harbor

TECHIIA has a huge experience in starting new projects in Ukraine. We have dozens of partners in Europe and the USA. They generate ideas on how to create IT-oriented products from various fields of activity. In 10 cases out of 10, these projects show greater efficiency if they are created in Ukraine. We compared our profitability indicators with the USA. You can implement 10 projects in Ukraine while in the USA it will be only one.

I am 100% sure that Ukraine is already an IT haven for all the counties, for neighboring ones, as well as for faraway ones. There are no obstacles for us to launch projects in the USA, Brazil, or China. But all these projects have roots here in Ukraine. This is where we form the ground for our competencies.

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