A recent Google blog post details how the Mountain View-based global tech giant has supported Ukraine, ranging from campaigns to counter Russian disinformation about the invasion to the Google for Startups Ukraine Support Fund, designed to help Ukrainian businesses “maintain liquidity, continue operations and incentivize further investment.”
While many Ukrainians have fled to safer places, including the United States, others have stayed or returned out of patriotism, or because they don’t want to leave family behind. Also, they’ve gotten used to military conflict with Russia stretching back to the invasion of 2014.
Andy Kurtzig, CEO of the San Francisco-based online expert platform JustAnswer, has about 315 employees based in Ukraine. That’s up roughly 65 people from last year, because, like JetBridge, JustAnswer has hired more people from Ukraine over the past year, despite the Russian invasion.
“We’re fairly well-prepared,” Kurtzig said. “We do have generators at our offices. We do have Starlink’s internet at our offices. And so it’s interesting — a lot of our employees, and their families, even, come to our office when the power goes out, because they can take a hot shower and they, you know, charge their devices, and be warm.”
Kurtzig and his company have done a number of things to support Ukraine: set up a nonprofit that’s raised more than $3 million, built a mental health center, and directed employees in updating and upgrading military equipment — JustAnswer engineers based in Ukraine helped upgrade the military's air defense system in cooperation with the Ukraine military via the company’s partnership with a local group known as the Lviv IT Cluster.
Both Kim and Kurtzig say they’re not the only Silicon Valley CEOs doing this kind of thing, and both insist Ukraine will prevail, eventually.
Kurtzig has visited Ukraine twice since the war started, and plans to go again next week. What explains his personal passion for the country? The people.
“These are good, kind, smart, talented, funny people that don’t deserve this. I feel like we’ve been in a position to be able to be helpful because of all of our connections there,” Kurtzig said.