Raising a funding round for your startup while fighting for your country on the battlefield is not a norm, but unfortunately, it is for some of the founders in Ukraine. It has been a year since, the morning Russian forces launched a military assault on Ukraine, crossing its borders and bombing military targets near big cities and invading the country.
While the country has since been fighting in a head-to-head battle with the Russian army, it has also received significant support from around the world. Kyiv-based Finmap, a cash flow management tool for small business owners, is now one of the many startups that received funding during the ongoing war.
The startup has raised €1 million of investments in a new round led by Polish-American venture fund, SMOK Ventures which has backed tech unicorns including Uber, Stripe, Niantic, Unity, and Zappos. This is the first time the fund invested in a Ukrainian project.
Further, the investment round was also joined by its previous lead investor, the Czech investment fund Presto Ventures, investment company Capital Genetics, and the CEO of tbi bank, Petr Baron.
Expand into Poland and Turkey
The financing will be aimed at marketing and locating the service in the countries of expansion – Poland and Turkey, strengthening its presence in English- and Spanish-speaking countries, and expanding the team.
Currently, over 2500 businesses use Finmap to manage their finances daily. The number of foreign customers has tripled in the past year, from 11% to 36%. The majority of the customers – 64% – are Ukrainian entrepreneurs.
Founder wounded on the battlefield
Finmap was founded in 2019 by serial entrepreneurs Oleksandr Solovei and Ivan Kaunov. At the beginning of 2021, the team was joined by Dmytro Dubilet, who is also a co-founder of monobank. In 2020 and 2021, the company received two rounds of investments from European investors and business angels, and graduated from Startup Wise Guys accelerator. The Finmap team consists of 59 people who work remotely – Over 80% of them remain in Ukraine.
The Russian invasion has also influenced the company. As a reserve officer, co-founder and Head of Growth Ivan Kaunov was mobilised to the Armed Forces of Ukraine in April 2022. Upon being wounded, he underwent rehabilitation, then returned to the air intelligence unit.
Finmap gained its first investments in 2020, in the form of a state grant. Ukrainian Startup Fund (USF) financed the project with $50,000.00 within the fourth PitchDay.
Ivan commented that: “Despite all the challenges that our country and our business have to overcome, we continue to work and grow. I am incredibly proud of my business partner and our team, their zeal and support, that they inspire me with every day.”.
Finmap offers a cloud-based solution for browsers as well as an iOS app that enables business owners to manage their finances easier and more conveniently. Business owners get real-time visibility on what’s going on in their business in terms of money and avoid cash gaps. As well as being able to manage your crypto portfolio, it integrates with over 2800 European banks, as well as services like PayPal, Wise, Revolut, ApiXDrive, Fondy, etc. PrivatBank, monobank, and PUMB provide integrations for Ukrainian users and they plan to add invoicing feature soon.
“Despite constant challenges, we continue to develop our company and scale in new countries. Our mission is to help entrepreneurs better understand their businesses, by means of an “easygoing” product, that solves everyday cash flow management issues better and more efficiently, than an Excel sheet. We observe a positive trend regarding increasing Finmap’s presence in Central Europe. We are actively adding new integrations with local banks and establishing partner relations. In the past year, we managed to double the number of our users” – stated Finmap’s co-founder, Oleksandr Solovei.
The native mobile app was released in 2022; it allows quick and easy entry of financial data, and management of entrepreneurs’ personal funds. It’s an addition to a desktop version of the service, which is fully compatible with users’ accounts. In the near future, it’s planned to launch an Android version of the app, too.
“In Finmap, we have managed to combine powerful functionality with an easy-to-use interface, which is especially valuable and important for time-conscious entrepreneurs. We are glad that additional resources and support will help us to extend this “powerful simplicity” to new markets.” – comment Dmytro Dubilet, Finmap’s co-founder, Ukrainian entrepreneur.
Borys Musielak, founding partner at SMOK Ventures, commented: “I first met the Finmap team back in 2021 just after they raised their pre-seed round of financing and were looking to conquer the world. Then came the Russian invasion, loss of revenue, and they had to basically start from scratch. I was impressed by the resilience of Alex and the team who quickly restructured the company and put themselves in a position to grow outside the Ukrainian market. I believe that what Finmap offers is especially important now in this time of recession when every small and medium company across the globe worries about cash flow. At SMOK.vc we are working hard to support Ukrainian entrepreneurs by bridging CEE to Silicon Valley, and I’m very proud to be leading the investment round of Finmap as part of that mission.”
Petr Baron, tbi bank CEO, has debuted with an investment into the project early in 2022 and proceeded with his support in the new round: “I am inspired by the drive and inspiration that the founders, Alex and Ivan, maintain at every stage of business development and with which they meet new challenges. They are evolving in tune with the project and are not going to stop achieving new milestones. Over the past year, Finmap has shown incredible growth and product adaptability, which once again confirms the importance of financial management and the relevance of this topic for European businesses.”
“In today’s challenging times, millions of small entrepreneurs around the world are left in the dark, struggling without basic control of their finances. In Finmap we discovered a company that has an enormous potential to apply innovative tech to change that daily struggle and is fueled by a passionate team that literally won’t give up in the face of any adversity. We are grateful and very excited to be a part of its journey.” – stated Andraž Grahek, Managing Partner at Capital Genetics.
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