Sergey Tokarev And KSE Open A University For IT Specialists. A startup Instead Of A Diploma, Income Share Agreement Instead Of A Usual Tuition


Next September, Ukrainian students will begin their studies at SET University, a new technological university launched by Sergey Tokarev, the Founding Partner at Roosh, and the Kyiv School of Economics.

They are confident that, in a few years thanks to the university, Ukraine will be replenished with a dozen new startups and thousands of jobs. Why? It’s all about a special approach—graduates will present a startup instead of a boring diploma, and teachers will invest in students’ projects. We will tell you in detail how SET University works and when you can file documents.


The abbreviation SET in the university’s name stands for Science, Entrepreneurship, and Technology. It reflects the values and mission of the university: to prepare future innovators for changing the world through science, entrepreneurship, and technology. The university aims to train not just IT specialists but IT entrepreneurs.

“My global goal is to change the mindset in the Ukrainian technology industry from outsourcing to production and create a new economy. Generate ideas, create technologies and projects within the country,” says Sergey Tokarev.

In addition to theory, university students will learn a practical basis on pitching ideas, developing business plans, and launching their own startups. In this case, the university has created a Startup Garage—the similar one operates at Stanford and other foreign universities. Creating an idea or launching a startup will also be part of the master’s thesis.

The most successful student startups will receive investment from a university-based venture capital studio. Also, students will be able to work on real cases of IT companies and undergo internships in top Ukrainian and international companies.


Despite the fact that everyone wants to “enter IT” and it looks like every second Ukrainian already works in this industry, there is a critical shortage of qualified specialists.

Now, the Ukrainian IT industry lacks 50,000 – 100,000 IT personnel. The shortage grows annually by 25-30% and has a growth potential of up to 50-60%.

But the quantity is one thing, and the quality of these specialists is another. According to a survey from Gradus, about 80% of IT industry representatives believe that young Ukrainians lack an understanding of how a business is created and developed to launch a startup and how to attract investment. And 86.7% of companies have to additionally train young specialists-graduates of technical universities since they are not ready to work on real projects.

SET University plans to solve this issue. The university founders set themselves the goal of 100% employment of graduates.

Who and what will teach

At the moment, the university is studying the requests from IT business and students to draw up a final list of study majors. Among the majors considered: Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, Cybersecurity, and others. These are industries of a huge demand, which, for objective reasons, the educational system is not yet able to cover.

As teachers, SET University will invite the best university professors and expert practitioners from the IT business: IT top managers, leading engineers, and other IT specialists from the best Ukrainian and international companies.

Education for everyone

Considering the level of SET University, one can assume that the education won’t be accessible to everyone. That`s not true. 

Just like other universities, SET University will offer a tuition-based model. The cost of education will be equal to the cost of programs in the Kyiv School of Economics.

Students will be able to get a grant or a scholarship from Sergey Tokarev or other donors of the university (companies, private investors, organizations, and funds).

However, the university is planning to teach most students on the income share agreement model. Students will sign an agreement and pay for their education during the several years after graduation with a certain percentage of their salaries in an IT company. As a result, both students and university lecturers will be interested in the best learning results.

How SET University was established

Sergey Tokarev has been working with the investment and technology sector for many years. There are more than 100 projects including Reface in his portfolio. He faced a lack of specialists while developing his business and portfolio companies. Tokarev understood that in order to overcome the lack of professionals, there should be a quality education that would also help Ukraine become a powerful IT hub of Eastern Europe. The businessman has been developing the idea of the university for several years.

In 2021, he attracts the Kyiv School of Economics to the establishing process because KSE has been graduating the most knowledgeable specialists for decades. Professors that graduated from foreign universities and have considerable practical experience teach there. Nobel Laureate Roger Myerson is a member of the International Academic Board of Kyiv School of Economics. KSE is widely regarded as one of the best economic universities in the country. Today, the country needs the best IT university. This is how SET University started.

Tymofiy Mylovanov, president at KSE, Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture of Ukraine in 2019-2020, says: “We don`t want to establish an institution that will suit an old educational system. We will show you an example of an IT university as it has to be, and we will alter the system by doing it.”

What`s the next step?

The university was officially presented on December 7 in Congress and Exhibition Center “Parkovy.” Many representatives of IT business, officials, including Deputy Prime Minister – Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov welcomed the university. 

In March 2022, the university will start a free online course on preparation for External independent evaluation on mathematics.

Starting from July, applicants will be able to apply for education in the university. Registration in digital accounts with the possibility to upload a packet of documents will be open from July 1. The application process will be open on July 14. University will sign agreements with the accepted students in August, the educational process will start in September.

Sergey Tokarev believes that SET University will change the Ukrainian IT industry and become an example for other universities. 

“We want universities to become an open platform for every participant of the IT market. We would like companies to send us their specialists to share knowledge and to look for our graduates. We would like the state to set up some strategic tasks. We would like everything to be about technologies, and each participant of the market would be associated with the university”, says Tokarev.

According to him, Ukraine has all chances to become a huge technology center, where dozens of unicorns will appear, and where foreign countries would like to relocate their business. SET University will do its best to become an educational framework for achieving these goals.


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