Hi, Gaston here. When I chose to invest in Carmachain‘s pre-seed round almost a year ago, I just envisioned helping the unbanked in emerging markets (starting with Kenya and Nigeria). I never even remotely conceived that I would be writing this blog post describing what it is like to be an entrepreneur in a country undergoing a war (Ukraine).
This post is my tribute to all impact entrepreneurs, particularly to the main characters of this post: Lina Milyutina (co-founder and CTO of Carmachain) and Ted Martynov (co-founder and CEO of Carmachain).
They are not only are doing their best daily as entrepreneurs (undergoing the same daily struggles as many other entrepreneurs) but excelling in doing it in a country devastated by an unsolicited war.
Life disrupted by war
Ted: I am still in Ukraine but moved with my family to a small town located in the West, 50 km away from the Polish and Slovakian border. Since I am a male under 50, I am part of the reserve forces for the Ukrainian army. I can not leave the country without approval. My wife decided that she and my kids would stay with me until we may all leave the country together.
The government company that my wife continues to work for evacuated my family the day the war started in a very organized way. We now live in something very similar to a hostel, in a sanatorium that was previously a holiday resort since this town is well known for its thermal waters.
Lina continues to work for Carmachain and is doing so from her apartment in Kyiv. Her husband, baby, and herself continue to live in a relatively high-floor apartment that every day is closer to the war front. She stays most of the day at home and ignores the airstrike alarm that goes on over ten times a day. You have to decide between living in a refuge or staying in your place. You can not go up and down the stairs so many times a day.
We are very delighted that the EU is acting as a good neighbor. The people that manage to cross the border are getting much support as refugees.
Staying behind, you can’t help but be surprised by how resilient, and multi-tasking people are. Most of us still have to keep making money for a living. Fortunately, there is plenty of remote work going on. At the beginning of the war, I was almost on a 24/7 duty, mainly dedicated to volunteering and serving my country as best as possible. I have gradually continued volunteering, albeit within a 7:00-13:00 timeframe (exceeded occasionally due to emergencies), which means that I have found time to do other stuff, such as managing Carmachain remotely.
Of course, this would be impossible or even harder to do if I couldn’t rely on Femi Oluyide (co-founder and Chief Business Developer), Dean Gichukie (Chief Marketing Officer), and the rest of the team in Nigeria. A lot is going on every day.
Communications have been decent so far. We use Messanger all along the day and manage to speak quite frequently. Business is booming; today, we signed a contract with a well-known electronic payment and digital commerce company, contributing over 5 million records to the platform. In addition, we have been able to onboard a new lender and double our records consulted/found hit ratio.
“Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime”Ernest Hemingway