'Start-Up Nation' Israel joins forces 'Tech Nation' Ukraine to fly high

When Israel and Ukraine join forces, hi-tech companies can go big, claims company founder Alexey Chalimov

Eastern Peak founder Alexey Chalimov (photo credit: Courtesy)
Eastern Peak founder Alexey Chalimov
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Alexey Chalimov, the founder of Eastern Peak, believes that while Israel is the Start-Up Nation, Ukraine is the Technology Nation.
“We had a problem,” he told The Jerusalem Post, based on his career in Silicon Valley. “Top talent over there wants to work with big actors like Facebook, so start-up companies are having a hard time recruiting good people."
"Money isn't hard to get in start-ups: quality talent is," he said.
Born in Donetsk, Chalimov came to Israel in the late 1990’s and found his way to the world of hi-tech, eventually working with Get Taxi founder Shahar Waiser in California.
In 2011 Chalimov was in charge of moving all the technical aspects of production to Kharkiv, “where we still work.” Thanks to the combination of Israeli team managers and Ukrainian technical talents, things went so well he decided to offer the service to others.
Today, the firm has offices in London and Herzliya in addition to its base in Ukraine. Such a network allows Israeli companies to recruit the talents they need to reach global dimensions.   
"To ensure profits," Chalimov said, "you need a structure and clear communication, which is what we bring to the table.” With 200 engineers working in Eastern Peak and eight years of experience, he seems more than able to prove his point.    
He added that due to COVID-19, there is a great demand for digital transformation around the world, which is something his company could do well at a competitive price.
Israeli gaming company Plarium is in the building next to Eastern Peak, he said, and his company offers the Ukrainian workers a chance to absorb the working habits and mindset that has made Israel a global innovation powerhouse.  
“All of the communication is done in English,” he says. “And while we are not the cheapest service out there, we are the best.”
“People have the mistaken idea that going online means opening a website,” he said. “This is the wrong idea.”
When you open a website, it works 24/7 around the world. If you run a guesthouse, you need to have the ability to sell the rooms you have and not sell the same room twice. You need to be able to answer a chat question from a Muslim guest about Halal food options, and this need could be at 2 a.m. because it’s daytime where he is. The payment options have to be secured and many other such details become important.  
The combination of Israeli confidence and Ukranian tech-savviness might be what ensures that a business can tackle such details and grow.   
CHALIMOV IS aware of the negative image Ukraine has as a society in which corruption is common.
“Corruption is terrible for business because it is unexpected,” he explained, “because if the system is corrupt, after each election the business owners need to figure out what the new rules are. Maybe this time the powers that be don’t take 10% of their profits? Maybe now they will demand to own half the business – or all of it?”
This issue is why many talented people in Ukraine and elsewhere decide to make their fortunes in other places.
"I know of buildings in Tel Aviv that have more start-up firms than the whole of Ukraine," he joked. "What they have there [in Ukraine] is technical talent at the top of their game, at reasonable salaries.    
“However, when you build your own company, you are able to also create a culture with clear rules and code of conduct,” he explained. “This can be a counter-force to the general trends that can be found in the wider society.”  
He points to Get Taxi as an example of how a company can change the conduct of a sector by using electronic surveillance methods.
“Before we came along, cab drivers in Israel were famous for not being the politest or the most honest drivers in the world,” he said.
“We introduced a rating system where the drivers get stars, and the clients also get stars. Today the drivers are much more effective in their work due to these tools.”  
“Next time we meet, I hope it’ll be in Boston,” he joked, “I hope to have our next new office there.”