Andrey Klen, co-founder of design firm O0 and Petcube, a laser-toy maker, and Alex Neskin, co-founder of both companies, took action when the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. Klen, with Neskin, who had moved his family to the Bay Area, helped over half of their 50 Ukrainian employees to relocate, mostly to western Ukraine and Europe. However, Klen soon had to leave Kyiv as bombs started falling in the city, and he resettled in Lviv. Petcube, now a remote company, has been supporting its employees and local defense groups through full salaries, donations, and ongoing monthly contributions from employee paychecks and company profits.
Two weeks later, the Spend With Ukraine campaign was launched, featuring over 100 Ukrainian brands, from smart gadgets and productivity software to fashion and entertainment. Every company approached to join the campaign was enthusiastic, reflecting the unity in disaster that is a strength of Ukraine.
The design firm, with half of its employees displaced or living in war, was able to create the campaign in less than two weeks, providing a boost to mental health for those involved. The Spend With Ukraine effort was publicly promoted in various ways, such as on ProductHunt and Y Combinator’s internal message boards. The founders emphasize that spending with Ukraine supports the economy and helps to turn it back on, as all money going into the country will assist in winning the war.