Ukraine launches new tech accelerator to propel start-up defence technologies to the battlefield

A new defence tech initiative, the Defenсe Builder Accelerator, has launched in Ukraine. This 4-month intensive training program is designed for Ukrainian defence startups – including developers of sensors, electronic warfare and surveillance systems – to secure the first investments and transition from “garage” production to establishment of a tech company.

“Defence Builder Accelerator program aims to enable the development of technologies, tailored to the needs of Defence Forces, allowing them to meet real battlefield requirements,” said an organisation press statement. “After completing the program, startups gain access to capital and investors.

“The Defence Builder Accelerator program was crafted in collaboration with leaders of the Ukrainian tech ecosystem, including Genesis, Sigma Software Labs, and the Kyiv School of Economics (KSE). The accelerator was founded by Ivan Kaunov (CEO), an officer of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and Kateryna Bezsudna (COO). Prior to the accelerator, they launched their own defence startup, Buntar Aerospace, which develops software and UAVs for long-range reconnaissance missions. Buntar Aerospace recently raised USD2M from several international VCs and is working on increasing the survival rate of ISR UAVs up to tenfold using AI and Ukrainian first-hand experience on the modern battlefield.

The acceleration program is open to startups that are developing both software and/or hardware defence tech solutions: UAVs, UGVs, USVs, EW and ES, software, demining solutions, cybersecurity, avionics, sensors and others. To qualify, teams need to have the TRL-4 level of the product or higher .

“The main factors of advantage in modern warfare are smart technologies,” says Ivan Kaunov, co-founder and CEO of Defence Builder Accelerator. The combination of military experience, technological background, and business skills will allow us to create a new vertical of Ukrainian defence technologies with a global focus.”

“The accelerator is ready to connect verified investors with defence startups. This presents an exclusive opportunity to access Ukraine’s booming defence technology sector. The team is open to collaboration with angels, VCs, corporate ventures, and other investors.

“There are 30+ mentors of the program, who are the leaders of tech companies with experience in creating and scaling complex technological products. Military personnel with first-hand combat experience and a deep understanding of battlefield needs are involved in the program as advisors. Among mentors of the program are Mikhaylo Rogalsky, co-founder of Monobank; Oleksandr Solovei, co-founder at Finmap; Misha Rudominskiy, co-founder at Promin Aerospace and Himera; Daria Yaniieva, Investment Director at Sigma Software Labs and many others.”

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