No report can compare to a personal story full of emotions and energy. Four Razom volunteers performed at a storytelling festival in New York City, sharing their stories from the stage with everyone who came to listen.
One of the goals of Razom IT is to give more opportunities for Ukrainian startups and entrepreneurs to be placed front and center of the New York startup scene. The Hatchery’s “Are You Serious?” pitch night, which has run in the city for six years, is one such great opportunity. Razom IT partnered with The Hatchery for the second time to bring a Ukrainian edition of AYS and showcase five early-stage startups* with Ukrainian roots in front of a panel of investors tasked with giving their honest feedback about the startups’ technology, business, presentation, financial plan, marketing strategy, and more.
It was a packed room — intimate enough to set the mood for honest feedback but big enough for the presenters to feel the pressure. Ideas were pitched, questions tackled, and at times, harsh feedback, swallowed. The feedback showed just how important good communication and public speaking skills are, in addition to a well-thought-out product.
Here are some of the lessons we took away from the event:
- Be yourself but remain professional, especially in high stress situations. Investors want to know your personality because in the beginning, they’re investing in you as much as in your idea. Everything from transforming harsh criticism into an opportunity to dressing for the occasion, counts.
- Work and work and work on your English. Being a non-native speaker is not a problem — a problem arises when your pitch is unclear and your tone is misinterpreted. It’s unproductive when a potential investor is wasting time making sense of your words and not your idea.
Andrey Sevryukov, Founder & CEO of AgriEye
- Don’t rush but keep up with the time. Time is money, especially in an investor’s world, so you need to maximize every second you have with them. Know when it’s best to be direct and to the point, and when it’s more effective to pause and linger when telling your story.
- Talk to the entire audience — you never know where your future mentor or investor is in the room. Reading off the slides is off limits and making a connecting to only one person in the room makes you look unprepared and/or nervous.
Sergey Starostin of OutPost Club
All of this goes hand in hand with knowing your company and product inside-out. Among the most challenging questions were:
- whether you’re aware of the laws, regulations, and required certifications to operate in certain regions;
- who your major competitors are, how you differentiate from them, and what greater value your solution offers that others fail to do;
- what inspires and drives you when it comes to building your company.
Overall, it was an inspiring night. There’s a lot to discover from startups with Ukrainian roots.
*The startups who presented at the AYS 2017 were: AgriEye (a remote sensing and soil analysis technology with a unique multispectral camera that brings high efficiency to SMB land farmers); Anryze (AI-powered call tracking for business calls that provides analytics to improve communications and scale sales fast); Gotyu (world’s smallest GPS tracker with global coverage); Hideez (a single digital key that fills out up to 1000 passwords for all your apps, websites and services); Outpost Club (co-living and co-working space for millennials).
By Ganna Sobolevs’ka and Anastasia Rab
New Global Neurosurgery Initiative launched by Razom in Ukraine
By: Tamara Lashchyk
On Sunday, March 5th at the Ukrainian Institute of America, I had the privilege of attending the launch of the Co-Pilot Project (CPP), an initiative of Razom that seeks to raise the quality of neurosurgical training in Ukraine through surgeon-to-surgeon mentoring. There I listened to Dr. Luke Tomycz, the lead physician on the project, describe in detail the complex surgeries that he performed last year in Ukraine to remove deadly brain and spine tumors from otherwise young and healthy patients who in many cases were refused from neurosurgical centers throughout the country. Much like a co-pilot helps land a plane safely, Tomycz and his colleagues hope to serve a similar function, guiding Ukrainian surgeons safely through complex neurosurgical operations.
Thanks to everyone who made The Co-Pilot Project happen. More about the initiative here: razomforukraine.org/cpp. Video by Bad Duet.
Posted by Razom for Ukraine on Sunday, March 12, 2017
For Immediate Release
Washington, D.C., February 16, 2017
On Thursday, February 23, 2017 the non-profit organization Razom is launching a new report, U.S. Policy on Ukraine: Challenges and Opportunities at an event on Capitol Hill. Intended as a comprehensive survey for policymakers and their staff, the report offers both an analysis of current policy as well as concrete recommendations moving forward. Production team is comprised of young policy professionals and graduate students. Report is part of RazomThink initiative.
“In the end, our goal is to spark conversations about why Eastern Europe is strategically significant to the United States, and how American leadership can ensure the region’s stability,” said Mykola Murskyj, a graduate student in international affairs at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Murskyj has spearheaded the coordination and production of this report, managing the RazomThink team as well as the subject matter experts who contributed to the report.
Razom feels strongly that any U.S. policy on Ukraine must be underpinned by a number of concrete principles: recognition that Eastern Europe’s security and stability are also U.S. strategic interests, dedication to upholding Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and right to self-determination; and increasing Ukraine’s capacity to face its own domestic challenges.
“Ukraine and its partners must build a successful and prosperous state on the territory it currently controls,” said Murskyj. For the U.S., this means maintaining a shrewd sanctions stance and keeping the costs high for potential Russian escalation, while simultaneously helping Ukraine grow its economy and reform its political system.”
Name: Mykola Murskyj
On February 23, Razom Think is launching a report titled U.S. Policy on Ukraine: Challenges and Opportunities analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of current American policy toward Ukraine. Intended primarily for those working on Ukraine within the executive and legislative branches, the document offers analysis of the impediments to Ukraine’s stability and of the humanitarian crisis ensuing from the hybrid war with Russia, as well as concrete recommendations for maximizing policy effectiveness.
Razom is pleased to announce a new RazomPartners project to support students from Ukraine at the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) – MathOlymp.
Reformers Without Borders (RWB) was conceived, funded and launched as a full-scale program within 5 months (January – May 2016). The program brings fellows from the United States and other countries to Ukraine to work on building a bridge of trust between local government and citizens. The initial idea came from one of the 2015 projects, Razom Odessa. Back then, two of our volunteers, Lyuba Shipovich and Natalia Shyrba spent 3 months as part of a team of reformers at the Odesa Regional (Oblast) Administration. The first RWB fellow, Hugo Spaulding, a Washington D.C analyst, was chosen from more than 20 applicants from all over the world. He successfully finished his 3 months assignment in Odesa in August 2016. After a year, the region was rated #1 in Ukraine in investment climate. The year coincided with Lyuba, Hugo and other Razom volunteers working in Odesa. We think there is a connection.
Our goal is to create a sustainable pipeline of international talent and expertise going to Ukraine and building a successful country on the ground, shoulder-to-shoulder with local activists. Throughout 2016 we have seen many examples of the very real impact of this work.
When a group of graduate students attending meetings on Capitol Hill were told that there is a need for more policy-oriented information on Ukraine, they sprung into action. Led by Razom volunteer Mykola Murskyj, a team of writers came together to create the report titled U.S. Policy on Ukraine: Challenges and Opportunities. The team expects to release the 100+ page report by the end of February 2017.
“Our objective is to engage and inform policymakers about Ukraine so that they build policy that continues to help Ukraine become stronger and more prosperous,” explained Mykola Murskyj.
Razom is happy to announce that with the support of our donors and volunteers we were able to sponsor the transportation of 20 artists participating in the Galicia Cult festival in Kharkiv that ran Oct. 2-18, 2016.
Galicia Cult is a multidisciplinary social-cultural forum that aims to introduce eastern Ukrainians to modern western-Ukrainian culture. Besides promoting a cultural exchange, the forum also intends to break common stereotypes in both the east and the west.
On October 8th, 2016 Razom volunteers organized a costume photoshoot with a photographer Waytao Shing (Getty, SXSW). The idea came from Alyona Owens, a volunteer from Izmail, Ukraine who now lives in Austin, TX and is the founder of Choobchik, an online learning platform. Big thanks to Austin TX Ukrainians group and Chicon Collective for being part of this event.