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The Ukraine crisis and immersive developers

Ukrainian VR and AR developers

By Tom Ffiske
VR/AR and metaverse analysis every Wednesday and Sunday // 10 April 2022 

Almost there with the house move, but the allergic attacks from the sofa are not the best.

Supported by:

Black Public Media

VR and AR developers in Ukraine

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine drastically impacted the lives of innocent Ukrainians across the country, each dealing with their own part. Over the last few weeks, I looked into how it impacted the VR/AR community in particular, as Kyiv is a vibrant home of technical teams. Here is a small insight into their lives. 

Ukraine is the home of talented developers and IT professionals, which attracted top talent globally. The rate of growth is staggering; in 2021, the IT industry grew by 36% from $5bn to $6.8bn in exports. The number of specialists rose by 50% in just three years, to 285,000. The stats do not fully reflect the community of immersive technologies, but they showcase the strength and rapid growth of the tech scene. 

Hints of war were littered months before the invasion, which led to some early preparations. Still, when the tanks finally rolled into Ukraine, teams acted swiftly, with the priority to ensure workers were safe. But unfortunately, some team members were too late.

“My three team members in Ukraine couldn’t leave the country as of the second day of the war,” shares Olga Kravchanko. “The team, Igor Fedorovskyi from Kharkiv, Vasyl Barannik from Dnipro, and Alex Ivanickiy from Kyiv, were staying in Ukraine for the foreseeable future. I called them individually to ensure their safety, but at this point, you couldn’t be sure what is considered to be safe anymore and for how long. The first two weeks were challenging as we weren’t sure what would be the best course of action.” 

Read the full investigation. 

Supported by Black Public Media

Creative technologists from Brazil, Canada, Ethiopia, South Africa, and the United States will participate in PitchBLACK Forum: Immersive. The winner will receive $50K USD in funding, and the runner-up will receive $25K. Projects include AI, 360VR, 6DOF VR, projection mapping, and AR projects. Watch the contest on Wednesday, April 27, 2022, at 13:00 ET and 19:00 CET.

Register to watch PitchBLACK live on April 27th

Do something you love doing

Andrew J Scott, founding partner of 7percent Ventures

What is your background?
I had, I suppose, a cliché entrepreneurial career. I was kicked out of college when I’d already started running my own business. I did my first startup in 1998. Back then I was still sending business plans in the mail and receiving faxes from investors. Wind forward 20 years and I have founded six companies. Sold one, four failed and one is still running without me. In 2014, I switched on to the investment side to solve some of the problems I’d experienced raising money from investors. After spending a lot of time on the West Coast in Silicon Valley and co-founding a startup there, I now work with my co-founder of 7percent Ventures, who is still based there while I’m in Europe.

What are you working on, and what’s a key learning that you’ve had from it? 
We invest super early in moonshot-ambition startups. We like to back founders who have a vision to change the way the world works and hopefully improve society along the way! We’ve now got a portfolio of over 100 companies. There is always something new to learn. I spend my time often speaking to people smarter than I, who know much more about the sectors we’re discussing. It’s a privilege to meet and work with so many people who are striving to build their dreams. The hardest part is saying no so often because we invest in less than 1% of those companies we research and have multiple meetings with, and less than 0.01% of companies we come into contact with.

I’ve learned that there are two types of Founding CEO. Someone who loves running the company and everything that entails and someone who loves growing a business. You’ve got to be obsessed with growing and becoming dominant. And that often means killing your babies – a rather unfortunate turn of phrase which means you may have to kill features in your product you love, pivot your service, or change how you’re solving a problem along the way. It’s all about the CEO and founding team. 

If you had to give one piece of advice, what would you give? 
We spend so much of our lives working, do something you love doing. Now, that probably does not mean sitting on a beach drinking cocktails. Love of work much like romantic love in relationships actually requires work. Lust is a fleeting thrill. Love is a choice as much as a feeling. From deeper relationships comes a different satisfaction. That’s the same in work. Drinking cocktails on a beach is for sure fun. It’s a fleeting thrill. After a week of drinking cocktails on a beach, you’re probably not feeling fulfilled. Fulfilment comes from mastery of something. It’s the same reason computer games are satisfying – they tease us to the point we feel we can’t get past a level, then we do, and we feel mastery through achievement. Work is the same. Whatever job you do, aim to be the best at doing it. Why would you spend your time trying to be anything else? From that comes satisfaction, self worth, confidence, self-respect. It’s everything basically. So, whether you’re starting your own company or following a more traditional career, you will find love in something if you strive to be the best at it. And striving to be the best creates opportunities which propel us to where we want to go. Then, when you’re 80 years old and sitting on the beach drinking cocktails, you WILL feel fulfilled, even after a week! As my old friend David Morgan (the only person ever to win six consecutive Commonwealth Games gold medals) says: be your best.

If you want to know more about Andrew J Scott and 7percent Ventures then click here to find out more. 

Jobs board

DISTRIBUTION AND TOURING PRODUCER. Marshmallow Laser Feast is looking for someone to join our team as a Distribution & Touring Producer. You will have a desire to work at the bleeding edge of immersive storytelling and help shape how that work is distributed globally. We see the development and distribution of MLF’s own work as key to the future success of the business, a key revenue stream and integral in building global brand awareness. This new role will be a vital part of the core team that formulates and realises this ambitious vision. Learn more. 

Find more roles here. 

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Meditative with the VIVE Flow. Photo credit: Tom Ffiske

Tom Ffiske

Editor, Immersive Wire

Tom Ffiske is the Editor of the Immersive Wire, a twice-weekly newsletter on the immersive industry.