On February 24, 2022, the whole of Ukraine woke up at 4 am because of the explosions in its big cities, including its capital Kyiv.
Russian President Putin announced a “special military operation” and began sending troops there, launching airstrikes and shelling. Russian troops are shelling not only military facilities but also residential areas.
While multinational businesses have difficult consequences, this war is particularly hard for those based in Ukraine. Serpstat is one of them.
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- Serpstat was founded in 2016 in Odesa, Ukraine.
- There are about 80 employees in Serpstat from Odesa, Kyiv, Kharkiv, Lviv, and Ivano-Frankivsk.
- Even now, at the time of the Russian military invasion, the Serpstat team continues an undisrupted service, even launching updates and releasing new unique tools.
At first, almost all employees dropped out of work. It was unclear what to do and how to continue working. Today, some of our employees have left the country or moved to safer regions of Ukraine, so the situation with work has stabilized.
Our main priority is to ensure the safety of employees. In the first days of the war, we helped them with evacuations from Kyiv, Kharkiv, and other cities that came under fire to quieter regions.
Now we keep monitoring the conditions of our employees and are always ready to help with the relocation of those who need it. We are also constantly updating our internal databases of volunteer centers abroad, rental housing in Ukraine, and other countries. In addition, we moderate local chats for our employees so that they can share the information if they are located in one city or country now.
In addition to physical security, it is important for us to ensure financial stability for our employees. For example, we started paying salaries in advance.
Since the beginning of the war, Serpstat team members have been evacuating their families to shelters, supporting the army, volunteering, enlisting the ranks of the defenders, and waging the information war against fake news and Russian propaganda.
The team is focusing on three main areas:
- Financial support of the Armed Forces and volunteer initiatives;
- Information resistance to the enemy in the digital area;
- Maintaining the company’s viability in wartime, supporting Ukraine’s economy, and preserving employment.
Here are some comments from our employees who have joined volunteer organizations or are defending the territory of Ukraine:
Taras Pristatsky, Blog Editor (for now – UVJI Coordinator)
“Ukrainian Volunteer Journalist Initiative (UVJI) is dedicated to researching, fact-checking, and translating confirmed news from Ukraine and delivering them directly to western journalists.
Over the week, UVJI has placed 173 media stories in the U.S. worth $4.5 million in national publicity value, reaching more than 200 million Americans.
And that’s not counting the TV broadcasts. More than 10 were already on Newsmax, Fox News, and the GB Breakfast show.
We sleep for 4-5 hours per day, but everyone is motivated.
I know people who work in Kharkiv from bomb shelters, so I have no right to complain.”
Andrii, Performance Marketing Specialist
“I coordinate the resistance movement and provide support. I’m responsible for volunteer units and territorial defense in Kharkiv.
Also, our group processes and consolidates data from civilians, which is then used to clarify the coordinates for accurate work of our birds Bayraktars, artillery, and aircraft.
As you can see in the video reports from independent media, Russian soldiers bomb the peaceful towns and villages in Ukraine and kill older people, women, children, and even newborns indiscriminately.
It’s unacceptable, so every Ukrainian is doing everything possible to knock out the attack of Russian barbarians and non-humans. I saw older people throwing stones at tanks, trying to stop them when they passed their homes.
So far, our defenders have pushed all the occupiers away in the Kharkiv direction.”
Oleksandr, PHP Developer
“I’m in territorial defense at Suburb of Kyiv. I’m standing at a checkpoint in my city. Regarding my impressions of what is happening, I was going to fly to Barcelona, but not to fight. Russia is a weak country of cowards, and the warriors are shitty as well as the people there! The fact that we will win is not even stipulated!”
Artem, QA Engineer
“I’m in the Armed Forces in Odesa, mobilized to my comrades in the military unit where I previously served.
We are currently strengthening our positions in case the Russian soldiers break into the city, but we will do our best to prevent this from happening. Also, we catch saboteurs, but in this case, we are both bait and hook :)
I’m proud of our people very much because we were able to unite against the enemy, stand for each other, everyone helps each other, and we have become a united nation.
All the military is determined to win. We will remove evil from our land. We have no pity, just anger.
Other countries’ support is essential. Now, everyone has finally seen what has been happening in Ukraine for the last 8 years.
How much was needed to infuriate the world that people from other affected countries come to us to avenge killing their people on their own land with complete impunity so that it does not happen again in other states?”
A lot of Serpstat employees are in Ukraine, hiding in bomb shelters. Serpstat couldn’t continue to help Russian businesses to develop, knowing that business taxes would finance war crimes in Ukraine. Thus, Serpstat became one of the first Ukrainian SaaS to block user accounts from Russia, despite the economic consequences.
On March 2, Serpstat blocked the accounts of users from Russia. Additionally, Serpstat stopped updating Yandex, Google Russia databases. Serpstat users from Russia received the following message:
“We are against war and any aggression. Therefore, we stop cooperation with users from Russia for an indefinite period – until the conflict is resolved.
If you are from Russia and have a Serpstat tariff plan, your account will be blocked until the war is over. The plan payment will not be refunded.”
Even though many of our employees have been forced to leave their homes in search of a safe place, our service remains stable under any circumstances to guarantee access to data for our customers. We constantly work on the service updates and develop new tools and features. “Keep calm and improve Serpstat”.
For example, we recently released a significant update: “Keyword Trends,” — the tool which allows you to collect popular topics as they appear in the region, which is especially important for newsmakers and content writers. For example, we used it for our research on how trends have changed in different countries since the beginning of the war in Ukraine
We have lost a significant part of our profits from clients in Ukraine, but some clients are now returning to work. The immediate plans are to launch a support program for Ukrainian customers to help keep the business afloat. If you want to support our team or country, here is what you can do.
Oleg Salamaha, Founder & Board Member Serpstat
“After the war, we will have a lot of work to do: rebuild the country’s economy.
Serpstat has always helped businesses in Ukraine to develop and find new markets and customers. That is why we now feel responsible for Ukraine’s economy and are doing everything possible to provide stable data to our clients and pay taxes to the state, and on the other hand, to become a basis for supporting other companies in Ukraine. I plan to hold a series of lectures for Ukrainians or launch a training course that would help develop business through search engines.”
What else has changed in the company’s strategy? We have promptly reviewed our plans to go to other countries’ markets. Europe, the United States, Canada, and Australia are countries where most of our efforts are concentrated now. During the first month, we lost about 50-60% of profits, but it’s difficult to predict what the results will be in the future. Anyway – the product works. We know how important it is to endure a difficult period for employees and their families, for the country’s economy, to contribute to victory and rebuild the country after victory.
Guest author: Daria Ahieieva is an Outbound and Inbound editor in Serpstat. Daria is engaged in content collaborations with influencers, blogs, and media in SEO-niche. As an experienced content creator, Daria works with all possible content formats: from interviews and case studies to analytical studies based on Serpstat data.