The co-founders of two Ukrainian companies, Andrey Klen of design firm O0 and Alex Neskin of internet-connected laser-toy maker Petcube, are leading the way in keeping Ukraine’s economy afloat. As the Russian invasion of Ukraine escalated, Klen and Neskin prepared their employees for possible relocation. With the help of Klen, over half of Petcube’s 50 employees relocated to western Ukraine and Europe. Klen himself later moved to Lviv after a bomb dropped near his home in Kyiv.
Despite the ongoing conflict, Petcube continues to pay its employees their full salary and has made donations to the Ukrainian defense, along with other Ukrainian companies. The design firm O0, together with other Ukrainian startups, launched the Spend With Ukraine campaign. The campaign promotes over 100 Ukrainian brands and services, from security to productivity software, entertainment, and fashion.
Every company approached by O0 for the campaign was eager to participate, reflecting the sense of unity in the face of disaster that is characteristic of Ukraine. Despite the challenges posed by the war and displacement, the co-founders and their teams worked tirelessly to launch the campaign within two weeks. They are using their experience in promoting startups to raise awareness of the importance of supporting Ukraine’s economy.
Klen and Neskin believe that spending with Ukraine will support the economy and help turn it around. They point out that while armies win battles, economies win wars, and emphasize the need to help Ukraine’s economy recover.