FF Venture Capital said its decision to launch a fund solely for Ukrainians is ‘informed by the invasion’ but is ‘not rooted in charity.’
US-headquartered FF Venture Capital has launched a new fund dedicated exclusively to Ukrainian founders and start-ups.
The Blue & Yellow Heritage Fund is targeting $50m and has already received early commitments of $30m from institutional, family offices and corporate investors. The firm aims to invest in Ukrainian businesses, as well as start-ups that have relocated from the country due to the war and start-ups that employ Ukrainian refugees.
FF Venture Capital already has an established network of Ukrainian entrepreneurs, thanks to its presence in central and eastern Europe. According to a statement published on its website, the firm’s decision to launch a fund just for Ukrainians is “informed by the invasion” of the country earlier this year but is “not rooted in charity”.
“As a US VC firm with established operations in central and eastern Europe, we are well placed for the challenge and excited to further expand,” it added.
“We see an opportunity to not only fill the current funding void, but to continue to help talented teams grow and become large successful international companies.”
The firm said it has deepened its ties with local VC and business communities with the help of its Ukrainian venture partner, Denys Gurak. The fund is also being supported by Ukraine’s ministry of digital transformation.
FF Venture Capital first invested in the region in 2019 when it funded voice-cloning software player Respeecher. The company’s tech featured in projects such as Disney+’s The Mandalorian.
The VC firm subsequently opened an office in Warsaw, permanently establishing its interest in central and eastern Europe. It launched its first fund focused on this region in 2020 and so far it has a portfolio of 14 companies on its books.
FF said that investment in Ukraine since the beginning of the conflict has dropped off. “Where others see risk, we see opportunity,” it added.
“Ukraine has a storied tradition of world-class innovation and investment success, including the invention of the hard drive, the market leading software/IT development platform GitLab, and messaging platforms that billions use every month (WhatsApp). Recent unicorns built by Ukrainian entrepreneurs and engineers include Affirm, Grammarly and People.ai.”
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