During the first month of the war, Reply employees were forced to search for safe locations due to the heavy shelling and occupation of many Ukrainian cities.
Some people left Ukraine, while a larger part of our team stayed in the country but moved to its Western regions. Some employees worked from bomb shelters, while others volunteered to help those in need. Several of our team members joined the Armed Forces to defend our country and we at Reply helped them get the necessary equipment. Our main priority was to do everything we could to save lives – find safe places and help people move there.
Facing both the immense psychological effects of war as well as physical dangers, we conducted over 40 interviews with psychotherapists, selecting four to work closely with our team, helping them cope with stress and complex emotions in this challenging environment.
Shortly before the invasion, we instituted a contingency plan to make sure we could manage the company and maintain operations under any circumstances. During the first month, we had to pause development work, but we were still able to maintain semi-regular operations. Our infrastructure and internal processes remained unaffected, with no downtime or disruptions for our customers. Our support team continued to provide customers with top-quality service, receiving a tonne of support and appreciation from our users in return.
Nobody could stay aside
After the first shock, we have seen how people joined forces to help and support each other, like a big family. A number of charity funds, and volunteer and humanitarian organisations were created and those of us that could donated what we could to those funds. Moreover, we have seen huge support from our clients and our partners, with many donating money to the Ukrainian army and volunteer organisations.
It felt like we understood that we had no time to be weak and we had no choice but to work as hard as ever. It remains truly inspiring how our people have the strength to volunteer and work at the same time.
Our CMO, Olivia Milton, joined forces with other Ukrainian Communications Leaders, PR Army - a volunteer initiative of Ukrainian communication experts - and fights to spread truth and counter Russian disinformation. Reply provides free access to our platform, which allows them to run email sequences and quickly reach hundreds of journalists to connect them with witnesses and experts. Thanks to their tireless efforts, they have succeeded in publishing over 1600 pieces on top media outlets such as BBC, Forbes, the New York Times, and The Independent.
Lesya Magas, our Product Manager, is a Ukrainian activist who has organized over 30 rallies and participated in dozens of public discussions, trying to make the call of her country during the war heard around the world. Living in Brussels, Lesya is a Ukrainian voice abroad who communicates with international media and meets with the EU Member State Representatives.
Through the darkness
Olivia, CMO: “I said that everyone in the management team has to find inner strength and will to keep going and show an example to other team members.”
We worked tirelessly and remained resilient amidst the constant stress, which continues to inspire Ukrainians to help and support one another.
In October, the largest blackouts in Ukraine's history occurred due to Russia's shelling of the country's energy sector. This posed a new challenge for our team as 70% of our staff remained in Ukraine and struggled to work under such conditions. The company offered support by providing everyone with generators and Starlinks and introduced relocation packages for those who wanted to leave the country. Our management team generated various plans to navigate the unpredictable electricity outages, including complete blackouts that lasted for weeks.
During the year-long full-scale war in Ukraine, Reply faced many challenges, including a lack of reliable infrastructure, constant stress, and blackouts caused by the shelling of the energy sector.
Despite the unpredictable circumstances, the company remained focused on our plans and achieved significant growth. Reply’s team has grown by 28 percent, from 83 to 105 people, and we are still hiring in Ukraine. We increased our customer base, attended WebSummit with our stand, gathered more than 700 Ukrainian business leaders to support the community, and secured strategic opportunities for the next five years.
In 2022 we reached the biggest number of product launches: added roles and permissions for teams, improved dashboard analytics, launched an AI generator that writes emails and follow-ups, and made team-wide integration with Salesforce, Hubspot, and Pipedrive.
By the end of the year, Reply achieved a remarkable 55 percent growth in revenue that we couldn’t even imagine in such terrifying context. This was the result of the incredible efforts and dedication of all staff members, who worked twice as hard and ran twice as fast to ensure the company's continued growth and success.
Their enhanced speed of tech development and productivity throughout the year was a testament to their unwavering commitment to their work, even in the face of such challenging circumstances. As the CEO and founder, I can not thank them enough, and hope you will too.
This article is part of Tech.eu's highlighting of remarkable Ukrainian startups on the one-year anniversary of the Russo-Ukrainian War. Read more ...