A few months ago, Sevast and Pavlyshyna opened a new office in Kyiv, with a life-size yellow helicopter dominating the lobby. the GETTING that they founded together, Awesomic, recently emerged from the Y Combinator incubator in Silicon Valley, and raised a $2 million round. For a monthly fee, Awesomic connects companies around the world with designers and developers (mostly Ukrainian) as a kind of subscription-based personalized Fiverr that, like most of the country’s tech sector, relies on. in abundance of talent and cheap.
Sevast, CEO of Awesomic, and Pavlyshyna, Director of Operations, are petite, thin, and dressed in black. When we meet in Warsaw, on the sidelines of a Google for Startups event, they talk to each other in a race of overlapping sentences, finishing each other’s stories, correcting the details … “It’s a good life,” he pointed out. Pavlyshyna. “We had this life for a few months,” interrupted Sevast, “and then the war began.” He has a photo of her laptop both, on the fourth day of the war, in an air raid shelter, eating cake for their 26th birthday. “Celebrating,” he said.
The first weeks were a logistical scramble to get the employees, who were scattered across Ukraine, out of the besieged cities. The company hires a “kamikaze driver,” a local who knows secret back roads, to pick up a designer from a town near the Russian border. The designer hid in a basement for two weeks, but continued to work. Burying himself in work, as he told Sevast, was a way to escape the horror; “the only place where I have a strong mentality.” This, Sevast continued, was the method he and many others in the country used to get through the dark days. “We call it the balance between war and life,” he added.
The outsourcing industry seems to be very transactional; people freelance and contractors are just email addresses in some faraway, cheap country. Work disturbs many freelancers Ukrainians by sending a note to customers at the end of January 2022 warning of the interruption of their services during an invasion. But the founders of Awesomic say their customers have stuck with them, even as Russia attacks civilian infrastructure, knocks out power and internet access, and threatens to destabilize the country. in commission for a long time. Awesome has purchased Starlink’s generators and terminals, and work continues. “We have done the craziest things as managers“, Pavlyshyna revealed.
The company continues to grow until 2022, reaching “multi-million dollar” revenue, according to Sevast. After moving their Ukrainian operations to safe places and settling their people and work, the founders moved to their next milestone: opening a new headquarters in Silicon Valley, where Pavlyshyna and Sevast are now based. “We believe we can get through anything. The journey of startups It’s not scary when we’ve been through it,” Pavlyshyna clarified. “Being strong is never an option,” she added.
“I saw the missiles, but I will deliver them in a few hours”
Howly’s offices are in a large brick-walled warehouse in central kyiv, with a gym and glass-walled meeting rooms on the mezzanine. They have given up on it twice. The company, which is less than two years old, offers an online concierge service for clients around the world. At a basic level, it’s like a daily help desk. Experts, most of them in Ukraine, will help you set up your smart TV or access an email account if you have lost your password. Some customers use the platform as a personal assistant, looking for restaurant recommendations and travel tips. The longest session lasted eight hours.