Since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine war, thousands of businesses, celebrities, and individuals worldwide have come forward to do their part in helping the people and saving the economy. One of the most notable efforts so far has been made by 33-year-old Andrey Klen, the co-founder of Oo, a virtual design lab for tech & lifestyle startups, and CMO of laser-toy maker Petcube.
To help save Ukraine’s economy and keep it buoyant, Andrey launched a campaign with a Silicon Valley-style launch called Spend With Ukraine. In this post, we’ll dive deeper into his efforts and how this campaign is helping hundreds of startups and small businesses in the country survive and sell globally by providing them with hundreds of gadgets, applications, and services on a single website.
Spend With Ukraine to Help Ukraine – Andrey’s Ambitious Mission
Andrey, along with with the co-founder of both companies, Alex Neskin, had moved from Kyiv to the San Francisco Bay area in 2021 along with their families. Following the tensions, Klen and Neskin helped over 25 employees relocate to Western Ukraine, other parts of Europe, and even the US. Klein was still in the country running his companies when the bombings started – one of which fell less than a mile from his residence in Kyiv.
So, he had to temporarily resettle in Lviv near Poland’s border. Many employees who had left the company to join the army or to relocate to another country were paid salary in full. Petcube became fully remote overnight and has donated over 1.5 million hryvnias to local defense groups.
In contrast, O0, the design firm, is primarily focused on helping the country in a unique way – not through donations, military aid, or other humanitarian drives. Instead, it took a different tack in saving the country by enabling direct purchasing from hundreds of Ukrainian companies, including startups and small businesses.
Spend With Ukraine currently features over 100 Ukrainian brands offering a wide range of products and services from gadgets, productivity apps (Grammarly, Respeecher, etc.), education apps (Preply, CodeGym, etc.), and Creativity apps (Depositphotos, MorningPages, etc.), to name a few. Popular services include:
▪ Fuel Finance
▪ Comeback Mobility
▪ Beetroot Academy
▪ Reply.io, etc.
Similarly, some of the most popular agencies on the site include:
▪ O0 Design
▪ ANGRY Agency
▪ Hellogroza, etc.
Andrey announced the campaign launch in April 2022 in a YouTube video featuring many locals wearing traditional outfits and others wielding rocket launchers. The video was dubbed over with a feminine voice saying, “We are the people you may have heard about. We are the people of Ukraine.”
The video continued with the voice pleading with the world for help before a series of flashed short clips popped up showing several Ukrainian startups offering a vast range of products and services. It featured some heavyweights from several industries, such as Grammarly, the typing-assistant app, Ajaz Systems, a globally renowned security company, and Reface, the popular face-swapping app.
In an interview, Klen said that the disaster has brought a sense of unity to the people of Ukraine and that this unity will serve as the country’s biggest strength in winning the war. He also talked about the “behind the curtain” activities to get this campaign up and running, especially highlighting how difficult it was considering more than half of his employees were either displaced or living in war.
In terms of the proposition, the business idea is fairly straightforward. The website encourages the international community (consumers) to buy Ukrainian products and services and support the economy. The campaign also encourages both locals and startups to share their UA products and services so that Klen can add them to the list of value offerings. You can send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and the team will get back to you promptly.
More Companies and Leaders Helping Ukraine
Of course, Andrey and Alex aren’t the only ones helping Ukraine in this fight. Hundreds of celebrities, businesses, charities, and local/international citizens are helping the country in one way or the other. Whether it’s through donations, manpower, equipment, or supplies, here are a few companies and leaders are helping the country stay on its feet:
▪ Wells Fargo
▪ Ford Motor Company
▪ Elon Musk (Tesla/SpaceX/Twitter, etc.)
▪ Andrey Liscovich (Ukranian-born Silicon Valley Executive and former CEO of Uber Works)
▪ Orange Group
▪ Swisscom, etc.
Wrap It Up
Andrew Klein and many others like him believe that the world needs to come together to help save Ukraine amidst the war with Russia. He believes that the Spend With Ukraine campaign can help keep hundreds of businesses running and fuel the economy, which can indirectly build and support the army. Essentially, all the money that goes into this campaign will be used to help Ukraine.
Undoubtedly, Ukraine is home to hundreds of industry-leading products and services, so helping the country by investing in them is a mutually-beneficial action. You get access to your favorite productivity and creative apps, etc., while the country gets the financial resources it needs to buy essential war supplies.