Uploadcare: GoTech Arena Winner Teams Up with PSG / Tiugo Technologies

GoTech Innovation initiates a series of articles delving into the success stories of GoTech Arena international startup contest winners from 2009 to 2019. We aim to track the evolution of startups pre and post winning the contest, exploring their journey to the present day.

We aim to track the evolution of startups pre and post winning the contest, exploring their journey to the present day. In 2018, the spotlight shone on Uploadcare, an intelligent platform streamlining content download and delivery. The startup secured victory in the four GoTech Arena nominations and won the main prize, catching the attention of Runa Capital venture fund, ultimately leading to a successful investment. Fast forward to January 2024, Boston-based Tiugo Technologies, a subsidiary of PSG Equity, acquired Uploadcare, offering developer tools focused on content creation and digital collaboration with a leading file management platform and content delivery network.

Igor Debatur, one of the founders of Uploadcare, exclusively shared with Irina Kalashnikova, CEO of GoTech Innovation, the transformative journey from a concept embraced by developers to a deal with a major corporation specializing in developer tools and platforms.

– How did Uploadcare come about, and was it your first business?

– Uploadcare emerged from our collaboration efforts at Whitescape, our first business founded in 2008 which was a web agency co-founded by Tolya Chernyakov and myself. Working on various projects, we consistently encountered the challenge of efficiently handling large volumes of uploaded files. This persistent issue led our programmer, Valentin Golev, to conceptualize a universal solution. Upon introducing the product to the Hacker News community, the positive response indicated a shared problem among developers.

In early 2012, Uploadcare’s alpha version emerged, catching the attention of Lev Leviev, co-founder of Vkontakte. Initially, he invested $250K and later increased it to $450K as the company progressed. By the end of 2018, Uploadcare, had evolved into a comprehensive solution, covering the complete file lifecycle and achieving widespread adoption, teetering on the brink of financial self-sufficiency. Recognizing the opportune moment, we decided to seek a new round of investments for accelerated growth.

– And in the same year, Uploadcare won four GoTech Arena nominations, meeting new investors.

– Absolutely! Breaking even wasn’t our sole objective; our sights were set on securing funding to fuel substantial company growth. Despite having offers from various investors, it was winning the GoTech Arena competition that proved to be the turning point. Following this amazing win, Runa Capital, with whom we were already acquainted with, became really proactive, resulting in a joint investment round of $1.7 million with Vendep Capital. Later, they further increased their investment by another $1 million, further solidifying our trajectory toward exponential growth.


Uploadcare clinched victory in four GoTech Arena nominations in 2018, including the main Arena Pitch, New Retail from Yandex.Market, and the Go Estonia nomination.

– What benefits did all the investors bring to Uploadcare?

– We appreciate all the investors who took the risk with us, particularly Lev, whose moral support and trust proved invaluable in the very beginning. Selecting Runa and Vendep as partners were strategic choices grounded in their impressive track records with SaaS projects and global expertise in developer tools. While our investors actively engaged in our project, we maintained independence, recognizing that founders possess the deepest understanding of their business.

A pivotal moment arose following rthe investment round from Runa and Vendep whenour traction faced some challenges. Their unwavering support and additional investments during this phase proved crucial. The collaboration with our investors not only fortified our team, but also facilitated invaluable learning opportunities from our missteps, propelling our growth further. – What were the main challenges faced in the company’s development?

– The pivotal decision to target enterprise customers after the pre-round A investment led to a significant challenge. Our existing traction, built on a self-service model of growth with a bottom-up approach did not align with this strategic shift. Our attempt to penetrate the big market resulted in resources being squandered, however,we analyzed what went wrong and revamped our marketing and sales teams, realigning our focus  to the original target audience: engineers, product managers and development teams. This strategic pivot, coupled with the unwavering support of our investors, refortified our foundation and set the stage for renewed momentum and sustainable expansion.

– What was the outcome of the deal with Tiugo Technologies?

– With a user base in the tens of thousands, the inherent synergy between our product and Tiugo Technologies’ developer-centric portfolio made the partnership a seamless and natural fit. Since Uploadcare’s inception, we maintained a steadfast focus on targeting international markets, however less than 5% of our customers resided in Eastern Europe. In 2022, our gaze further shifted towards exploring an international clientele, and the strategic alliance with Tiugo Technologies not only broadened our reach but also strengthened our position in the global marketplace.

– How did you decide to sell the company?

– In 2022, achieving break-evenness prompted us to explore new avenues. Despite the market not being ideal for VC funding, our burgeoning success attracted multiple buyout offers on the table. Faced with these offers, we deliberated meticulously, eventually rejecting venture loans in favor of charting a path toward strategic partnerships. Tiugo Technologies, aligning with our vision, emerged as the perfect fit. The deal allowed us to maintain our independence while contributing to their developer tools focus.

– What will be the further development of Uploadcare in the new structure?

– With Tiugo Technologies’ customer base, our audience is expanding significantly. The complementary nature between Uploadcare and Tiugo Technologies’ portfolio of brands adds to the value proposition for clients, leading to larger contracts. The collaboration is poised for success, leveraging the combined strengths of both organizations to accelerate growth.

– Who do you see yourself as in the future?

– Presently, my focus is directed toward nurturing and expanding our collaboration with Tiugo Technologies, exploring new opportunities and leveraging the exciting prospects ahead. While a new project may emerge in the future, the specifics remain uncertain. Builders are gonna build.


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