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Sergey Kartashov (Sergejs Kartasovs) about the prospects of AI and ML startups in Ukraine

Artificial intelligence and machine learning gain popularity and have become a worldwide trend. Using the ability to work with a massive amount of data in a cost-efficient way, IT developers boost projects based on these technologies. The Ukrainian IT sector moves with the times, and Ukrainian AI and ML startups are among the top-performing apps in AppStore and GooglePlay. Sergey Kartashov, the Senior Partner at technology company Roosh, speaks about Ukrainian IT industry development.

The scope of applications based on AI and ML technologies has been expanded. They are actively used in computer games and mobile app development, healthcare and medicine, education, and financial structures. During the pandemic, AI-based technologies were used widely, and World Health Organization declared that AI “could be an important technology to manage the crisis caused by the virus.” Machine learning has a great potential for developing diagnostic systems that detect various diseases.

According to Sergey Kartashov, AI projects received about 40% of the total investment in the IT industry in the previous year. Projects focused on education and medicine attracted investors. Drone development became another prioritized niche that obtains funding.

Ukrainian IT teams work on AI and ML technologies and develop promising projects based on them, as well. Sergey Kartashov lists a lot of national startups that succeeded over the past decade. They are Grammarly (cross-platform writing assistant that reviews texts), Scorto (a system used to deal with decision management and risk mitigation tasks), Viewdle acquired by Google Inc (technology for recognizing objects and faces on images). 

Roosh invests in different projects based on AI and ML. One of the most successful startups funded by Roosh is Reface, a mobile app that allows users to swap faces in videos. The app provoked a lot of interest and attention and quickly achieved top position in App Store. A year ago, it was at the same rank as such entertainment giants as TikTok, YouTube, and Netflix. According to the developers, they are updating the technology to allow users to watch movies or TV shows replacing main characters with their portraits.

Sergey Kartashov, Senior Partner at Roosh, says that developments based on artificial intelligence have already become a part of everyone’s life. Among the most usual, that surround people in daily life, he names text editors and search algorithms, chatbots and social media, fingerprint scanners and faces recognition in mobile devices, robotic vacuum cleaners, and e-payment systems.

Sergey Kartashov has no doubts that the future is already here, and Ukraine has a great potential to offer new projects based on AI and ML technologies. Such startups will continue the strong entry that the country has already started onto the world stage.

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Sergey Kartashov (Sergejs Kartasovs) on investment and information environment

When talking about investing, people often claim that time-tested approaches are still relevant: as long as you follow these principles, you have a good chance to succeed. But today investors face many unique challenges, and the most serious and global of them is the speed and amount of incoming information.

Sergey Kartashov (Sergejs Kartasovs), CEO of Cypriot asset management company Generation Partners, told us what to do in such a situation.

Big data

In the past, it was difficult to get reliable information about publicly traded companies. The Wall Street Journal and a limited number of financial media attempted to collect and distribute business news. But the speed of reaching the general public for the newest information depended on the speed of printing.

Now, even little-known companies can generate a constant information stream. That is why, with so much data available at any given time, it is difficult to determine what really matters.

Sergey Kartashov notes that inaccurate information still gets to the market, even though it takes much shorter to correct or disclose fake news nowadays. Inaccuracies can be random mistakes, malicious rumors, or even financial fraud by corporations. Moreover, financial markets are so dependent on the constant flow of information that now we face another problem: the lack of data is worse than its inaccuracy.

The difficulty of finding a suitable resource is associated with the problem of too much information available. How can an investor find quality resources?

With Big Data, investors can filter information and create a select pool of trustworthy sources that match their investment tastes. Analysts working with large databases assess global financial trends and the general market situation and provide the investor with complete and objective information.

Expertise

Attracting investment is impossible without a thorough check of the applicant companies. Sergey Kartashov explains that verification, in this regard, means creating an investment basket based on an audit, which includes an assessment of the following aspects:

  • Advantages and disadvantages of corporate management of the company;
  • Experience and skills of personnel;
  • Information security systems that directly affect profit and reputation of the company;
  • Financial reports.

When creating an investment basket, the investor should take into account profitability, liquidity, time horizons, and risks. The investor selects particular companies and thinks over the capital distribution.

Diversification

After selecting candidates and creating an investment portfolio, it is necessary to minimize risks and maximize profits. Experts advise diversifying the basket.

Sergey Kartashov believes that now most startups are risky, but potentially highly profitable. There are also companies with high reliability, but low profit margins.

Diversification implies managing risk. An investor creates such a portfolio so that, under certain factors, it corresponds to the risk/return ratio. Because of this, the given rate of return is maintained and the risks remain within the conditionally controlled framework.

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Business

Sergejs Kartasovs (Sergey Kartashov): How to relocate IT businesses in 2020

Sergejs Kartasovs (Sergey Kartashov), the CEO of Generation Partners, expresses his views on the relocation of IT startups this year. He also highlights the main factors that affect the relocation of companies. Recently, he participated in the organization of a conference on relocating IT businesses, Re.Locate.IT. There were many speakers who identified the challenges in the way of relocating IT companies to other countries.

There are various reasons for the relocation of IT businesses. Most of the businesses mainly relocate to a favorable country where they get high protection of Intellectual Property (IP). Some IT businesses relocate in pursuance of tax benefits. In terms of the protection of IP, the countries are divided into various categories. However, there are not many countries in category A. Sergejs Kartasovs says, “The category A includes the US, Germany, the Netherlands, Estonia, Lithuania, and Cyprus.” On the other hand, category B includes Poland, the Czech Republic, Portugal, and various other countries.

After getting the protection of IP, the companies prefer to get affordable accommodation for their teams. Real estate prices, infrastructure, and professional communities are important features of the accommodation. Kartashov also considers flight time from home country to the relocation country and other important locations in the world important for the companies.

Some IT companies relocate to get a better business infrastructure. They prefer an efficient environment for economic and financial activities. Some countries are losing their position as an IT development location as they are failing to provide economic and financial benefits. Latvia is a perfect example in this regard. Sergejs Kartasovs notes, “Latvia is losing its position as one of the best relocation countries in Eastern Europe. The reason is the tightening of AML (anti-money laundering) rules.”

There are various countries in the world that are highly suitable for developing IT companies. IT companies must have to do some research work before choosing a country from the list of best countries for IT development. IT developers and investors always look for a strong community. Different countries have different types of communities in this regard. For example, Cyprus has a high-class gaming community while Berlin has a great machine-learning community. Estonia is offering the easiest process of registering a company.

Some countries are failing to provide benefits to the IT companies after getting a huge reputation. For instance, Israel has become an expensive country to live in. The cultural and political norms of the country are making it tough for IT startups to prevail. Malta has also become overcrowded. Moreover, it is suffering from political and economic crises during the recent years. So, it is certainly not a good option for relocation at the moment.

After deciding where to relocate, IT companies should look for various things to establish successfully. The first thing is to take an experienced HR manager with them. It is a better option to hire local talent as compared to moving a whole team to a new country. There is also an option of operating from two countries. For example, a company based in Belarus or Ukraine can relocate 20% of its employees and CEO to Cyprus to get better IP protection. The rest of the team can operate from the home country. Moreover, the IT companies should relocate to a country where they have friends and people who are aware of the local jurisdiction, according to Sergejs Kartasovs