Start-up Nation

Look No Further than Ukraine for the New Silicon Valley of Defence Tech

It’s not only about winning the war. Ukrainian deep tech startups emerge as the backbone of the country’s postwar economy.

Anton Tarasyuk is a co-founder and expertise lead at the Ukrainian startup Mantis Analytics.
Anton Tarasyuk is a co-founder and expertise lead at the Ukrainian startup Mantis Analytics.Alex Babenko

The first days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine were heavy with shock and fearfulness. The information space was flooded with rumours and disinformation. The collective state of the nation was one of panic and paranoia. For Anton Tarasyuk, it was first of all a tragedy and then an opportunity.

For Tarasyuk, a Kiyv-based strategic communications expert, the only way to not succumb to the panic was to find how to contribute to the resistance. Having a mission helps clear the head, he says. As your mind is occupied with work, you are less inclined to worry about the grim circumstances that surround you. It was easy for him to uncover an assignment. Ideas were literally flying through messenger groups where different professionals discussed how to put their skills to use to help their country fight the enemy.

At the time, Tarasyuk was working on a project to monitor the information space. He soon learned of a volunteer group that was using AI tools to detect Russian propaganda and joined forces with them.

One of the twisted plots they managed to uncover was a fabricated “interview” with a prominent Ukrainian Marine, Serhii Volynskyi, that included statements about high-ranking US military personnel staying at Azovstal during the siege, a thesis that aligned with Russia’s propaganda narrative. Anton’s volunteer group was among the first to flag it as suspicious. An independent journalistic inquiry later conducted fact checking and confirmed it was fake.

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