Russian-Speaking Technologists Rebuild Their Lives in San Francisco

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 in the marketplace for nonfungible tokens, he contracted with a crew of synthetic intelligence engineers unfold throughout Russia.

He additionally invested in a number of Ukrainian start-ups. One in all them was Reface, an A.I. firm really helpful by Mr. Podolyanko. Final summer time, as they met with different corporations and colleagues in Kyiv, the 2 of them attended a ship get together whose hosts had been a gaggle of Ukrainian technologists and traders. Mr. Podolyanko introduced his girlfriend, a Ukrainian monetary analyst named Stacy Antipova.

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 may cross into america 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 in 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 far-off so quickly,” she mentioned. “I’m simply attempting 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 prospects — college students in search of scholarships and grants at universities overseas — had been in Russia.

“All of us really feel trauma,” mentioned Mikita Mikado, one other DobryDom housemate, who immigrated from Belarus. “However the trauma is totally different for every one among us.”

Mr. Mikado and Mr. Doronichev at the moment are working to maneuver their very own staff out of Russia and into European and Asian international locations accepting Russian residents with out visas, however not all are keen or capable of go away. The 2 entrepreneurs will lower ties with anybody who stays.

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