Here’s how Ukraine's macOS and iOS developer MacPaw is overcoming war challenges

Oleksandr Kosovan, Founder and CEO of Kyiv-based MacPaw, shares how the Ukrainian business managed not only to organize the workflow in times of full-scale war but also actively support the Ukrainian Defence Forces and humanitarian projects.
Here’s how Ukraine's macOS and iOS developer MacPaw is overcoming war challenges

On February 24, 2022, Russia started a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Since then, some Ukrainian cities have been occupied by the enemy, some are under constant missile attacks, and some are hosting thousands of internally displaced people. However, despite ongoing attacks, chaos, and the inevitable loss and damage, many Ukrainian companies began recovering their operations just a few weeks after the Russian invasion began.

MacPaw, the maker behind CleanMyMac X, Setapp, and ClearVPN, has been developing and distributing software for macOS and iOS since 2008. Today, every fifth Mac on Earth has at least one app by MacPaw. We come from Ukraine and are proud of it. That’s why the support and development of our country are a significant part of the company’s culture. 

MacPaw team before the war.

The year of the war in numbers 

  • Around 70% of the MacPaw team is in Ukraine. Work has become a desk-bomb shelter balance challenge for those staying in Ukraine.
  • MacPaw engineers have created 2 new products (Together and SpyBuster) in bomb shelters.
  • We spent 237 hours without electricity in our office in 2022 as a result of missile attacks.
  • MacPaw has donated over US$6,3 million via its MacPaw Foundation to help Ukraine.

How we protect our team during the war 

When the war started, our first goal was to make sure everyone on the team was safe and had enough resources to make it through the first most complicated weeks of the war. The company organized an internal Emergency Concierge Service to help employees with evacuation to safer locations, finding accommodation in new cities, moving abroad, or assisting with any other urgent requests.

Hiding in a bomb shelter, brave MacPaw engineers developed the Together App, a program for Slack where companies organize regular check-ins for their teams to ensure that everyone is in a safe place and to know if anyone needs help. The app is available for free for all other companies.

MacPaw team is sheltering from a missile attack in a subway.

Some of our team members joined the Defence Forces of Ukraine to stand up for the country. We at MacPaw, provide moral, informational, and financial support to everyone who needs it, including those defending Ukraine. 

The company’s operations in times of war

As we had prepared all processes and emergency procedures for a possible Russian invasion, the war didn’t affect the work of MacPaw products. We’ve enjoyed working for our clients over the years and appreciate the trust they’ve put in our company. We just couldn’t disappoint them.

Although our office is located in Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, all our infrastructure and user data are safely hosted on Amazon Web Services. The physical location of the cloud service server is outside of Ukraine. Paddle, the payment provider MacPaw works with, is based in the United Kingdom. The company handles user payment information with great care and complies with global privacy and security standards.

Working during blackouts 

We’ve also faced some new challenges after Russia’s massive attacks on Ukrainian energetical infrastructure facilities. And it’s not easy to maintain work during power cuts that can last hours or even days. In 2022, for 237 hours, we worked in our office with no electricity using only power generators.

At the same time, we set up satellite internet to cover the risk of internet loss and replaced the power supply unit in the security systems so that the office’s security would not be affected even in the event of a long-term blackout. We also provided conditions for the remote work of team members.

MacPaw office during a blackout.

From hiding to helping: how we help fight Russia's cyberattacks

We weren’t prepared to participate in a war. MacPaw is a software company, not an army. But as war affects everyone without exception, regular citizens join the fight in any way they can.

Sitting in bomb shelters, MacPaw engineers created another cool thing called SpyBuster to help fight against Russia’s cyberattacks. You may be surprised, but Ukraine isn’t the only target of Russian hackers. 

According to the Microsoft Digital Defense Report 2022, 58% of all cyberattacks come from Russia. The top countries targeted are the United States, Ukraine, Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

We developed SpyBuster (it’s free) to help users immediately see apps related to Russia and Belarus installed on their Mac and iPhone devices and identify those that send data to servers in those countries. SpyBuster got the Golden Kitty Award 2022 by Product Hunt in the Privacy-focused category.

Also, we updated our most-used app CleanMyMac X with the Suspicious Apps category (Uninstaller module) based on technologies the engineers used in SpyBuster.

Everyone does what they can

When the full-scale Russian invasion started, it was uncertain what was going to happen in the next couple of weeks or even days. Nobody knew if businesses would be able to continue to work or if the country would collapse. Soon, everyone began to actively return to normal work. After all, this way, we can not only support the economy of Ukraine but also help other people who are currently unable to work. Most of the time, our team has been involved in volunteer activities.

Since 2016, MacPaw Foundation has been supporting the company’s social projects. With the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion, the foundation had to shift the focus to help save lives in Ukraine. We acquired and funded technical equipment, tactical medicine, and protective gear for our defenders. On top of that, we supported the civilian population and animal shelters in the war-affected regions in Ukraine.

As of now, MacPaw company has donated over $6.3 million to help Ukraine. Of this amount, up to $800 000 were donated to the Foundation by active users of MacPaw products and Ukraine supporters, for which we are eternally grateful.

Hoover, one of MacPaw’s mascots, quality-assuring the equipment the MacPaw Foundation bought for Ukrainian defenders.

Ukrainian businesses are facing a difficult period due to the Russian invasion. However, we’re all united by our love for our Motherland, determination to keep going, and hope that peace will return to Ukraine. With truth and humanity on our side, we’re confident that we’ll overcome all the challenges and win. On behalf of all Ukrainians, we say Дякую! (DiakuYOU) – Thank you! – for everyone standing with Ukraine in these hard times.

About MacPaw

MacPaw is a software company based in Kyiv, Ukraine, that develops and distributes software for macOS and iOS. MacPaw is the creator of CleanMyMac X, ClearVPN, Setapp, and other products. In 2017, the company acquired The Unarchiver and has been actively supporting the product ever since. Today, MacPaw products have more than 30 million users worldwide. Every fifth Mac on the planet has at least one MacPaw app.

This article is part of's highlighting of remarkable Ukrainian startups on the one-year anniversary of the Russo-Ukrainian War. Read more ...

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