Headway and Preply, two educational technology (EdTech) startups from Ukraine, have made it to Viva Technology’s “Top 100 Next Unicorns” list that showcases European startups with the potential of reaching the “unicorn” status.

“Unicorn” is a term in the financial world that refers to privately owned startups valued at more than $1 billion without being listed on the stock market.

According to Viva Technology’s website, the companies were chosen based on a few main criteria, namely the startups’ actual and potential growth, total funds raised, headcount growth, geographical distribution and their positive impact on society.

“The list is compiled in partnership with the investment bank, GP Bullhound, and with contributions from four of the world’s leading investment funds: Accel, Eurazeo, NorthZone, and Partech,” read the website’s statement.

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Headway is an EdTech company that creates microlearning products with more than 80 million users globally. Founded in 2019, it has since expanded to more than 240 staff across offices in Kyiv, Warsaw, Nicosia and London.

Its flagship application Headway is a book-summary application that condenses best-selling non-fiction books into short insights via listening, watching and reading.

It also has two other applications: Impulse, a brain-training application that aims to develop user memory attention and logical thinking through gamification, and Nibble, an application that provides short, interactive lessons on a variety of topics.

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In 2023, Headway was included in Holon HQ’s “Europe EdTech 200” list that showcases the most promising EdTech startups in Europe.

Preply is an online education marketplace that connects students and tutors from around the world.

Founded in Kyiv in 2012, the company has since expanded its market to more than 180 countries with more than 35,000 tutors and 600 employees located in different continents with offices in Kyiv, Barcelona and New York.

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In July 2023, the company received $70 million from venture capital (VC) firms to integrate artificial intelligence (AI) into online tutoring.

Later the same year, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) co-invested $10 million into Preply in partnership with Horizon Capital to “empower Preply to expand its research and development initiatives, integrate artificial intelligence to enhance the learning experience, and introduce new product lines.”

Viva Technology publishes the “Top 100 Next Unicorns” annually, where it says “a third of the companies on VivaTech’s top list for 2019 to 2023” have reached unicorn status.

Of all the potential unicorns listed this year, more than 40 percent provide enterprise software as a service (SaaS) solutions. In total, 22 startups listed came from the UK and 21 came from France.

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