An inside look at a Ukrainian fintech startup adjusting to wartime life – TechCrunch

Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine has been going on for almost two months, and during this time all sectors of the economy, including IT, have had to support the army.

Ukrainian IT has not collapsed – it has shrunk a little, but it holds firm, provides people with jobs, pays taxes, organizes humanitarian aid and helps the Ukrainian army.

Here are some key factors that have helped Ukrainian IT, and us as a company, survive:

Businesses prepared for war before it started

The media was talking about the possibility of war long before it actually started. Although everyone hoped for better, the Ukrainians recognized that they had a neighbor who could attack at any time. With this in mind, many IT companies have started planning for emergencies and setting up emergency teams. Preparation helped us tremendously to maintain cohesion when the war began on February 24th.

Our company established an emergency team, whose main responsibilities were to provide accommodation and transportation for our employees from hazardous areas.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses to go digital

The ability to work remotely helped IT workers tremendously in wartime. People worked in bomb shelters, in basements, and in cars and trains during evacuations. We used to work online, so when the war started, it was not a big problem for our employees.

Thanks to the availability of many digital tools and programs, our workflow was not greatly disrupted.

screenshot of Ukrainian employees working on a video call

Picture credits: 42Flows.Tech

Evacuation of employees to safer cities

It is difficult to leave one’s country and quickly integrate into life elsewhere, so staying in safe parts of Ukraine was very important for many people. Several million Ukrainians have moved from the east to the west of the country, concentrating in cities such as Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Chernivtsi, Lutsk, Rivne and Uzhhorod.

IT companies have done their best to help their employees move. Some covered moving costs, while others rented accommodation. The larger companies have even opened 24-hour hotlines to help with evacuation procedures and psychological assistance.

In the first weeks of the war, we helped employees from the East to move, rented a hostel in Lviv and invited people to live there with their families. We also converted part of the office into temporary housing and helped employees find and rent apartments, which has not been easy due to the huge increase in demand for housing in the west of the Ukraine once the war started.

Evacuation of employees to other countries

Some people have decided to temporarily leave the country until the situation improves and go to countries where they can feel safe. Only women, children and pensioners could do so, and all men between the ages of 18 and 60 remained in Ukraine. The war is still raging, but many people who had left Ukraine are now returning.

Some IT companies have moved their offices to neighboring countries, mainly Poland, Romania and Hungary. Others helped the families of their employees with relocation, paperwork and housing.

Only some of our employees have left Ukraine. Our contingency plan included housing for employees and their families in Slovakia, but in the end everyone decided to stay, and we weren’t able to take advantage of it.

Support and confidence of foreign partners and customers

Despite the risks and vulnerability, many foreign clients have continued their projects in our country. This trust and support is extremely important for the Ukrainian IT sector, as it helps companies to survive.

However, the level of business productivity has not fallen. People feel extremely motivated to work and demonstrate good performance to foreign customers. Many employees who lived in the safest parts of the country went above and beyond, covering and supporting their colleagues moving from war zones.

Overall, the Ukrainian IT sector has been successful in ensuring secure and uninterrupted project delivery.

Screenshot of an international partner supporting Ukrainian businesses

Picture credits: 42Flows.Tech

Transformation of workplaces

Many IT companies in the safest regions of the country have transformed parts of their offices to accommodate employees and their families from other regions. Many offices were temporarily transformed into humanitarian centers, which provided support and assistance to people in the first weeks of the war.

Our own office now fulfills three functions. It serves as temporary accommodation for employees in war-affected areas, as well as offices for companies that have left the war-torn regions and, finally, offices for our own employees.

Protection of the Ukrainian army

Thanks to the immense efforts of the Ukrainian army, many cities are now safe and allow people to live and work relatively peacefully. Many computer scientists are committed to protecting their land. People who coded, managed and worked on complex technologies before the war put down their laptops and picked up weapons.

Other computer scientists stayed on to maintain the computer front, which is no less important. IT companies are actively involved in volunteering at the corporate level to organize funds and initiatives to help the military financially.

Our CRO and co-founder, Igor Luzhanskiy, joined the Territorial Defense Forces at the start of the war. His battalion protects our lands and ensures public safety. We try to constantly support him and his battalion with technical and material means.

42Flows.Tech COO Maxym Popov and CRO Igor Luzhanskiy, who joined the Territorial Defense Force

42Flows.Tech COO Maxym Popov with CRO Igor Luzhanskiy, who joined the Territorial Defense Force. Picture credits: 42Flows.Tech

Volunteer projects

The motivation to help one’s own country can work wonders. IT companies worked on volunteer projects from the earliest days of the war.

Screenshot of TacticMedAid, which provides information on tactical medicine

Screenshot of the TacticMedAid app, which provides information on tactical medicine. Picture credits: 42Flows.Tech

Some develop applications for the military while others develop solutions for civilians. Today, there are hundreds of different initiatives, and their existence shows the unity of companies in a common goal: the victory of Ukraine. IT companies have recognized the complexity of operating under conditions of war, leading many companies to band together and help each other.

In less than a month after the start of the war, we have created five fully operational social, humanitarian and medical chatbots, as well as a news website that explains the war in Ukraine to the international community.

Our co-founder and strategic board member, Andriy Sabanskiy, has brought together professionals and businesses from Ukraine and the United States to work with local, national, governmental and international professional medical organizations to provide information and training to the military.

More than a thousand military professionals have already successfully completed the training. The app, TacticMedAid, has been downloaded by over 43,000 users on iOS/Android stores. Our Telegram chatbot of the same name is actively used by the military and civilian population to learn about tactical medicine.

And after?

It is believed that the demand for IT will remain high and the IT sector itself could become the new engine of the economy. The situation entirely depends on how long this war will last and how it will end. Despite the level of support given to Ukraine, companies are very reluctant to take risks and operate in unpredictable conditions.

How can I help you?

Unfortunately, due to market vulnerability, many IT companies have lost customers at a time when they need support more than ever. You can help!

If you have a new project and are looking for opportunities to implement it, work with Ukrainian companies. You will get quality work in a reasonable time and you will also help the Ukrainian economy.


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