He quickly based a nonprofit social community for entrepreneurs referred to as Mesto — the Russian phrase for place — hoping to spice up the start-up market in Russia and different components of the previous Soviet Union. As he launched a brand new start-up of his personal, Duplicat, which aimed to determine fraud out there for nonfungible tokens, he contracted with a workforce of synthetic intelligence engineers unfold throughout Russia.
He additionally invested in a number of Ukrainian start-ups. Considered one of them was Reface, an A.I. firm really useful by Mr. Podolyanko. Final summer season, as they met with different firms and colleagues in Kyiv, the 2 of them attended a ship occasion whose hosts have been a bunch of Ukrainian technologists and traders. Mr. Podolyanko introduced his girlfriend, a Ukrainian monetary analyst named Stacy Antipova.
Russia-Ukraine Struggle: Key Developments
It was a visit they now look again on with rueful affection. Russia invaded six months later.
After the invasion, Ms. Antipova fled Ukraine and flew to Tijuana, Mexico, the place she might cross into the US as a refugee. She now lives at DobryDom. “After I went down for breakfast the primary time,” Mr. Doronichev remembered, “I didn’t know what to say.”
Sitting within the yard alongside her new housemates on a latest afternoon, Ms. Antipova was additionally not sure what to say. “I didn’t plan to maneuver so distant so quickly,” she stated. “I’m simply making an attempt to repair my life, to know what I need to do, as a result of I left the remainder of my life behind.”
Throughout the desk, Dasha Kroshkina, one other Russian-born entrepreneur, defined that she was working to maneuver staff out of each Russia and Ukraine and scrambling to restart her firm’s service, StudyFree, in Africa and India. When the battle started, a lot of its clients — college students searching for scholarships and grants at universities overseas — have been in Russia.
“All of us really feel trauma,” stated Mikita Mikado, one other DobryDom housemate, who immigrated from Belarus. “However the trauma is totally different for every considered one of us.”
Mr. Mikado and Mr. Doronichev are actually working to maneuver their very own staff out of Russia and into European and Asian nations accepting Russian residents with out visas, however not all are keen or capable of go away. The 2 entrepreneurs will reduce ties with anybody who stays.