Standing with Ukraine

The last few days have left most people in fear, upset and distress. It is heart-breaking to see what is happening to the country and the people of Ukraine, and the priority for most at the moment is safeguarding as many Ukrainians as we can.

However, this war is not just about Ukraine, it is about everyone, as Ukraine has been such an influential thriving ecosystem especially in terms of technology and startups over the last few years.

The amount of talent and inspiring founders produced from Ukraine, especially over the past few years is extremely impressive. Some of the most successful technology companies have been produced by the country of recent, plus new investors, and a large number of Ukrainian early-stage startups can be seen coming through a number of big accelerator programmes.

So many technologies, products and solutions that you use on a daily basis have Ukrainian roots, and Mike Sapiton, Tech Editor at Forbes Ukraine shared a few to remind us how much of an impact Ukraine and their entrepreneurs have in our society.

Did you know, the Founder of WhatsApp Jan Koum was born in Ukrainian city Fastiv, before moving to the US, which is currently under attack from the Russians?

Millions of people are currently Revolut users, and their Co-Founder Vlad Yatsenko is not only from Mykolaiv, but a large number of their staff is based in Ukraine as well. They have released a statement in which they explain from the outset of this crisis, they are focusing first and foremost on doing all they can to safeguard their people in Ukraine, and to support them and their families. Revolut also offered their Ukrainian employees the relocation support to move whether than be to another country or another location in Ukraine.

Additionally, the digital startup bank has offered support with humanitarian relief programs for those impacted through the Red Cross, and ensured everyone who wants to send money to or from banks in Ukraine can and all transfer fees are waivered. Whilst on fintechs and banks, PayPal was Co-founded by Max Levchin, who was born and previously had lived in Ukraine.

Another massive name in the startups world, Ukraine-based computer vision startup Traces.AI deploys its technology based on Artificial Intelligence to analyse over 2,000 physical traits of a person via security cameras.

Everyone has heard of, and probably uses Grammarly. The company now worth $13bn was born from and founded by three Ukrainians – Max Lytvyn, Dmytro Lider and Alex Shevchenko. Grammarly still houses its largest development office in the capital Kyiv.

Again the team at Grammarly is standing with the people of Ukraine and asking for support, in anyway shape or form – peaceful protests, speaking to representatives or donating where you can to organisations such as, Red Cross Ukraine, The Come Back Alive Fund, Ukraine Armed Forces, Nova Ukraine, Razom.

GitLab, based in Ukraine, is one of the most widely used DevOps collaboration platforms. The Founders, Dmitriy Zaporozhets, Sid Sijbrandij created and built up a $394m company which delivered a single application that changed the way development, security, and ops teams collaborate and build software. Dmitriy Zaporozhets, Ukrainian born, recently exited the company.

Oleksandr Kosovan is the Founder and CEO of Mac software utilities maker MacPaw, and he told Forbes: “Today, Kyiv has been attacked all day long. The war is here, and it’s real. Right now, we answer these questions under the sounds of sirens calling people to hide in the nearest bomb shelters.”

These are just a few, of course there are so many more talented individuals and businesses that have originated from and still are based in Ukraine. It is a country full of technology, culture and a hugely upcoming ecosystem that is an integral part of the startups world.

Ukrainian businesses are often global businesses, they work and operate over an international scale, but a lot are being forced to potentially move out of Ukraine and whilst this may bring opportunity, a lot are based on access to the local tech talent pool.

What can we do and where?

We want to help and support in any way we can, this link can offer some more information on the conflict and point you in the right direction to offer help where you can. It has been amazing to see the community and industry try to share support and exposure where they can. We know a number of Ukrainian individuals have been sharing where is best to offer help and care, we thought we would highlight some to point you in the right direction.

Jillian Kowalchuk, Founder of Safe & The City, whose family originally came from Ukraine shared that Safe & The City's i3 Intelligence platform has been tracking major protests throughout the UK and Ireland yesterday and today as people come together for solidarity for Ukraine. Jillian also encouraged people to help where they can by donating to emergency responses to help Ukrainians, or writing to your Government about the peaceful actions you want them to take.

Founder of Musemio, Olga Kravchenko originally from Ukraine has shared a post and created a form you can fill out in which you can distinguish what type of help and support you can offer to the people of Ukraine.

Ukrainian Nina Levchuk has shared a number of ways in which people can offer aid, and has in fact launched a new website - providing information for Ukrainian people and refugees arriving in Europe. People can also get in touch with - if they are able to offer; contacts, shelter, volunteering, legal aid, and engagement.

Finally, although no longer a startup or entrepreneur, I thought it was worth adding that Airbnb is offering free temporary stays for people fleeing Ukraine. You can also help here with hosting or donating.

The world is in uncertain times and it is important in times like this to stand together and offer the support we can.