Ukrainian-American venture capitalist and Worklife founder Brianne Kimmel discusses her company’s involvement with relief efforts, including an offer to evacuate thousands of Ukrainian engineers, and how other companies can make the most of their resources to help those in need.
Some might be surprised to learn of the close relationship that exists between Silicon Valley and Ukraine, but considering each region is a tech hub in its own right, it’s a natural one. According to Amsterdam-based software-development company Daxx, there were 200,000 Ukrainian developers in the country in 2020, and 20% of Fortune 500 companies have their remote development teams in Ukraine. The ties between the two regions extend beyond pure economics too: People move from one place to the other, collaborating on projects, even getting married.
As brutal attacks on their cities persist, many Ukrainian professionals have continued working — with hundreds of thousands in IT-related fields even using their skills to form a so-called “IT army” to launch cyberattacks against the Russian government.
Ukrainian-American venture capitalist and Worklife founder Brianne Kimmel: “The U.S. government has been a little bit more quiet and guarded in how we’re approaching support for Ukraine broadly, but tech companies, as private companies, have the opportunity to be very vocal and to take a stand and to move faster,” Kimmel says. “So we’re seeing Elon Musk, Brian Chesky, the CEO of Airbnb, and then the CEO of Flexport really step up very quickly. They’re thinking like a startup, which allows them to move faster.”
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Come Back Alive is one of the largest charitable foundations that supports Ukrainian soldiers, founded by the IT specialist Vitaliy Deynega. The organization collected more than 210 million UAH (more than $7M) in 2014. According to Na chasi, the Patreon page Come Back Alive is in the top ten projects by the number of financial donations.