Ring Ukraine office need you to forget they are part of Amazon

Squad employs over 1,000 people in its Kyiv offices. The company develops and manufactures smart doorbells featuring object recognition by a neural network and was talking about remote door lock control with the last mile delivery from Amazon. Until recently, the company had the discreet name “R&D center.” And a year before, it was known in Ukraine as the Ring Ukraine development office. Why did Ring, which had been on the Ukrainian business media’s agenda for months, has changed its name to the unknown Squad?

As a journalist from The Intercept found, in 2020, the Ukrainian office of Ring started removing any mentions to its ties with Amazon. Representatives of Amazon also said that it does not have a company in Ukraine, there is only a contractor.

As it became known to AIN.UA, Ring had no legal presence in Ukraine. We could not find any legal entity, and individual entrepreneurs in Ukraine were concluding contracts with Deviget LLC, incorporated in Milton-Freewater, Oregon.

One of the most frequently cited reasons for such masquerade is Amazon’s alleged decision to disassociate itself from Ukraine after the notorious personal data breach. Supposedly, Ukrainian data labelers who trained the neural network could access videos of American users when out of office.

However, Amazon itself has been the target of many investigations. On the last occasion, Amazon was accused of collecting data of successful sellers, building up its own product lines based on those, and then making the sellers leave the platform. So, at any rate, the media attention toward Ring is not directly related to Ring itself. Ring’s former employee, who asked not to be named, has a different opinion, “Amazon was not sure about Ukraine from the first day. Because of some geopolitical reasons of its own.”

Either way, today the fact that the Squad team is working on cool products for Ring is mentioned neither on the website, nor on DOU, nor on social networks. The company has also stopped disclosing the number of its Ukrainian employees – since 2020, there were no workforce statistics on DOU, used compile the ranking of the top 50 companies. As with the rebranding news, all have been done without much ado. It seems that a beautiful billion-dollar story is over before it has begun. And yet, over a thousand Ukrainian specialists carry on developing a world-class product.