Women in Web3 Changemakers: Veronica Korzh
“I think balance is the crucial factor,” says Veronica Korzh, the co-founder and CEO of GeekPay, an all-in-one platform to streamline and secure batch payments in digital currencies to gig workers.
“It doesn’t really matter if it’s Web2, Web3, Web5 or whatever — equality and diversity in terms of genders, races, religions brings more to the table.”
Korzh is one of the 10 finalists of the 2023 Women in Web3 Changemakers List, an annual competition designed to champion women pushing boundaries in the space. Korzh, along with nine other outstanding candidates, are showing the industry the change women are bringing about during the advent of the Open Web.
Korzh was selected not only for her work at GeekPay, but because of the pivotal role she has played in supporting Ukrainian startups, helping them maintain access to funding and talent during a period where so many have been displaced after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Korze is a Partner at SID Venture Partners, the first unique Ukrainian high-technology venture capital firm established by IT experts focusing on investments into early-stage technology startups.
In little over a year, it has successfully funded 16 startups across a range of sectors, and recently became the most active venture investor in Ukrainian startups in the last 18 months.
A Web3 Journey
“My story is quite simple,” says Korzh, who is currently based in Lisbon. “I’ve been in the Ukrainian software business for about 15 years in project management, programme management, and also in product house roles”.
Korzh’s journey into Web3 came about after a chance encounter with Illia Polosukhin, one of the co-founders of NEAR Protocol. “I was always fascinated about technology, and blockchain has, for the last 10 years, been one of the most exciting technologies.”
This led Korzh to begin investigating what this breakthrough technology was really all about. At first, says Korzh, blockchain was difficult to understand, but there was something intriguing that led Korzh to dive deeper. At the time, Kurzh had been working on a fitness app in Ukraine, but that chance encounter led her to radically rethink the direction of her career.
“I moved to blockchain and here starts the most interesting part of my life,” she says. In less than two years, Korzh has helped 16 companies access funding and become the co-founder of her own Web3 company. But the road hasn’t been without its challenges.
Since the beginning of the Russian invasion in February 2022, the start-up sector in Ukraine’s bustling tech industry has been displaced. Dozens of companies had to relocate, further west in the country, or to welcoming hubs like Lisbon. This made evaluating companies on their merit more challenging.
Since then, Ukraine’s crypto native community has bounced back. Ukraine has managed to raise more than $100 million in cryptocurrency donations through its government-curated Crypto Fund of Ukraine, thanks to natively built projects like UkraineDAO. For Korzh and her colleagues, the journey to find the best startups has, despite the disruption, continued.
“The technology is still far away from what we would like to have in terms of the ecosystem.” This has meant assessing which projects should be funded, and which require more work, has been a challenge. But, says Korzh, that’s where women come in.
More balance, better results
“I think balance is the secret sauce for progress for any business. The more balanced ecosystem you have, in terms of gender, the better your results.”
Korzh believes increasing the number of women in Web3 can only help produce better results. “In terms of gender equality, this space is very male,” says Korzh. “It is very hard to find women founders.”
This is where awards like the Women in Web3 Changemakers hopes to help showcase the work of women across the space and encourage others to take the plunge.
“I think awards can help say: ‘I’m capable enough to start my own company,’ or ‘I’m capable enough to understand how blockchain works.’ It’s an indicator for myself as a female founder to think, okay, maybe I should also try myself, maybe I can build something, maybe I can create an idea that then changes the world.”
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