How This Tech Founder Retains His Enterprise Afloat With Staff in a Battle Zone

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When Jacob Udodov, a Riga, Latvia-based entrepreneur, based his crew collaboration software program firm, Bordio, in late 2019, he intentionally constructed a global crew throughout Europe. Whereas it has been a good way to rent prime expertise, the disadvantage of the technique got here into full aid on February 24, 2022. That is the day Russia invaded Ukraine and his small 20-person team–comprised of six Russian and 6 Ukrainian staff amongst them–met its match–putting the upstart tech agency into compromising positions on an virtually each day foundation. –As instructed to Rebecca Deczynski

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My spouse had woken me up the morning of February 24 telling me that Russia had invaded Ukraine, and I instantly acquired on my work chat. Group members from completely different components of Ukraine–Kharkiv, Kherson, Poltava, and Kyiv–had despatched messages about listening to explosions. There have been additionally messages from Russian teammates that have been despatched in help of their Ukrainian colleagues; they mentioned they have been ashamed of the actions of their nation, and requested what they might do to assist. 

The occasions of the day have been dramatic however not altogether shocking. One among my Ukrainian staff lives within the Donetsk area of Ukraine, which has been occupied by Russian forces since 2014. So, I began following the information when, on February 18, Russian separatists introduced that residents of the area wanted to evacuate to Russia. At that second, I understood that one thing huge was going to occur.

Shortly after the invasion started, I wrote to my Ukrainian workers and instructed them to not fear about work–they have been free to take paid break day and do no matter they needed to do to transfer out west and keep secure. A number of of them moved, together with one developer from Kharkiv, who, after town was attacked, mentioned it was the most effective resolution he is made his total life. [Editor’s note: Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, has been one of the most-targeted regions by Russian forces. It is still under attack, and at least 500 civilians have been killed in the city.]

After just a few days, a few of my Ukrainian workers began working once more, only for just a few hours a day. Along with the shock and the emotion of the expertise, there are difficulties, like WiFi outages and bomb sirens that sign that they must take shelter. 

I requested my different staff if they might be keen to pitch in some further assist, which they have been greater than keen to do. I additionally reached out to former staff, who’ve left the corporate inside the previous yr, to get momentary assist from them. Now, we’re in a greater place. 

One factor that continues to be difficult is determining a solution to pay our Russian staff, which is controversial. The financial institution we used had banned funds to Russia, and it took a while earlier than we discovered one other one which allowed us to efficiently pay these employees. Despite the fact that our Russian teammates are completely in opposition to the actions of their authorities, they’re affected by sanctions. 

It is horrible to say, however we have gotten used to the struggle in a way–it’s the fact we’re dwelling in. I am glad that my crew was completely united in our help for the Ukrainians, and we’ll proceed to be supportive till that is over.



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