The United States has been recognized a leader in the information technologies market for many years. Silicon Valley is crammed with the offices of successful young startups and global IT corporations. At the same time, investors from all over the world are looking for fresh ideas and new projects far beyond the Valley. In recent years, this has contributed to the development of the IT industry in the previously undervalued markets. One of them is Eastern Europe. We talked about the potential and prospects of this market with the investor and co-founder of the international IT company Lucky Labs Sergei Tokarev.
Sergei Tokarev is sure that the information technologies market in Eastern Europe has been underestimated for too long. Investors realized that there are strong software developers here quite recently. Several sensational world-class projects had huge role in this.
“Not everyone knows that Skype was practically born in Estonia. About forty percent of the application developers worked on the program there. Another striking example is Poland. Have anyone ever imagined this country as the leader of the gaming industry? And then the whole world could not tear away from “The Witcher.” And when you hear that the company from Ukraine is a serious competitor to Amazon? Nevertheless, the whole world knows about PocketBook. These are only examples that lie on the surface. In reality, there are thousands of successful cases in these countries, and the cumulative turnovers are billions of dollars,” Tokarev says. “Yes, these countries have come a long way to achieve the goal. But today they are “on the wave” and investors from all over the world are investing in the development of these countries.”
Tokarev is no exception. In 2006, he and his partners founded the outsourcing IT company Lucky Labs. One of the largest offices of the company is located in Kiev. As reported by DOU.UA, in 2017, Lucky Labs became the 11th largest employer in the field of IT in Ukraine, and the staff of Ukrainian offices exceeded 900 people.
In addition to the main activities related to the development of software for clients around the world, the company implements charitable projects aimed at the development of the potential of youth. This has both personnel and commercial meaning, Sergei Tokarev explains.
“It’s no secret that the majority of successful IT corporations in the United States were able to reach their heights thanks to immigrants. For years, the heads of the largest companies have been struggling to expand the possibilities of working visas in the USA. This is largely due to the desire to get specialists from Eastern Europe. This is an objective reality associated with a high level of education,” Tokarev is sure. “For example, Ukraine. There are famous mathematics schools and departments that train talented students. You will be surprised to know how many Ukrainians and immigrants from Ukraine are founders of world-class businesses,” says Tokarev.
According to Tokarev, the main advantage and difference between the work in IT in the USA and Eastern Europe is that in the United States the profitability of projects is a priority, while in Ukraine and other Eastern European countries, developers, first of all, strive to enjoy and develop, search for new solutions and innovation. In addition, here the market of specialists is practically unlimited.
At the same time, Sergei Tokarev is confident that human potential is subject to continuous development and stimulation. Therefore, as projects of corporate social responsibility in Ukraine, Lucky Labs focuses on the support and assistance of youth. The company helped to create a charity project LuckyBooks, which publishes and distributes non-fiction literature in Ukrainian for teenagers. Another direction is the incubator of student startups.
“Creating and maintaining an atmosphere of continuous learning, innovation, and search is our contribution to the development of human potential in Ukraine. I am sure that any investor who invests money in the country should be interested in its development and develop not only business, but also the human ecosystem,” says Lucky Labs co-founder.
Sergei Tokarev is sure that in the present circumstances Eastern Europe is one of the most promising IT markets in the world.
“I have repeatedly said that the countries of Eastern Europe have a lot of competitive advantages in IT to the United States, to Western Europe, and to Asia. And many investors already understand this, including those from London and Tel Aviv,” Tokarev says. “Young and talented people are looking for themselves in the most progressive technological businesses. They want to live in the future, and not live by the legacy of their fathers. Their motivation to develop and work is very high.”
In 2017, Lucky Labs announced its plans to invest 20-30 million dollars in European technology companies. According to Tokarev, this is partially embodied. He says, some of the companies that have received investments, are located in Eastern Europe – in Ukraine and Poland.