Facing hard decisions: How Ukrainian startup AllRight survives turbulent 2022
When the full-scale war started in Ukraine, nearly a quarter of tech startup AllRight employees found themselves in hotspots. The founder of the company, Oleg Oksyuk, had to react fast.
“I knew that the people had to be evacuated,” Oksyuk said. “So, we started to help them with information and prepared places to move.”
Eventually, AllRight set up a shelter in Khmelnytsky for the staffers and their families.
When the people were safe, it was time for Oksyuk to think about the survival of his business.
According to a recent study, because of the war, Ukrainian startups have lost about 12.7% of their team members. In some cases, startups had to let people go to cut costs; other employees started volunteering to help the country or even joined the army.
AllRight develops an online language school for children, and for its clients, it has continued to work as usual. But in order to survive, Oksyuk had to cut costs. AllRight has given up some of the services it used, while asking other partners for discounts.
The company was also forced to let one-third of the company’s personnel go, leaving only the key specialists. To help those who were dismissed and those forced to leave their homes, AllRight’s management and the remaining employees have crowdfunded “tens of thousands of dollars.”
“The company was helping, but most of the costs were covered not by the company, but by its employees. We didn’t reduce anyone’s salary, and the people volunteered to help their former colleagues,” Oksyuk said.
Those who stayed also had to take more responsibility and become multifunctional. “We didn't have enough money to hire new people. So many learned to do things they hadn't done before. Some did well and some weren't up to the task. But in general, it worked,” Oksyuk said. “Our employees have grown over these months.”
As the company had to analyze the changes and make decisions quickly, Oksyuk decided to hold regular meetings with top managers.
“In the past, we rarely had meetings among the company’s top managers,” Oksyuk said. “But when the invasion started, decisions had to be made quickly, so we started meeting online three times a week and realized this was a useful thing. We still do it.”
Best metrics ever
Since February, AllRight has had to quit 8 countries and is currently focusing on ten markets, including Poland, Italy and Ukraine, where the company is developing most actively. Losing markets “did hit our budget, but right now we are growing,” Oksyuk said.
The aforementioned study shows Ukrainian startups mostly focus on Ukraine, Canada and the United States. Every fifth Ukrainian startup considers the global market as their main target.
“Although our growth has been going a little slower than we expected, our metrics are the best in the entire history of AllRight,” Oksyuk said. “The ratio of LTV to CAC increased by three times.”
Ukrainian startups help the country to win the war not only by “fighting” on the economic front line, but also by directly donating money and volunteering.
Oksyuk and his team do their best. They volunteer, donate and even have an employee who fights in the army.
“One of our employees has been in the Armed Forces since the first days of the war. And we’ve been paying him a full salary,” Oksyuk said.
In the first months of the war, AllRight also organized free trainings for refugees. And right now, the company plans to donate Hr 200,000 to Serhiy Prytula Charity Foundation.