“Risk factor”: American Takeoff Technologies fires its entire Ukrainian office in one day

Recently, Ukrainian websites stated that the American company Takeoff Technologies fired all its staff in the Kyiv development office within a day. It means over 80 Ukrainians and people from abroad lost their jobs. An AIN.Capital’s source has confirmed this information.

All these specialists are now actively looking for a job: the engineering teams (Golang, Python, Clojure, Java, React Native, K8S, Serverless, GCP, Terraform), the data science team, the support team, and the finance team.

What happened

  • The US-based company develops software for e-commerce routines automation. Takeoff Technologies also has development offices in Ukraine and India.
  • Matthew Barnes, Senior VP of Engineering, named a reason for the dismissal of Ukrainians during a call on March 23. The source quotes, “Takeoff Technologies needs investment, and having an office in Ukraine could mean an additional risk and become a problem for fundraising.”
  • Another reason was the lack of customers in Europe. Takeoff Technologies supposedly have clients only in the USA, Canada, and the UAE. And Ukraine isn’t a proper location for the company.
  • Employees from India and the US would occupy positions of shortly dismissed Ukrainian specialists, so the source. At the moment, the company has vacancies only in those two countries.

Some details about the company’s operations in Ukraine

The Ukrainian office of Takeoff Technologies commenced operations just after the company came into existence. According to the official Facebook account of the company, the Ukrainian office started in 2017, while the company was founded in 2016. There is also an Indian office, which opened recently in July 2022.

Photos: Takeoff Technologies

From 2017 to 2020, Ukrainian entrepreneur Yegor Anchyshkin was on the management team of Takeoff Technologies. He sold Takeoff his stake in CatFresh (Zakaz.ua’s US business) and initially took the position of CTO at Takeoff Technologies before he became Chief of Retailer Integration. In 2020, according to his LinkedIn, Anchyshkin left to run his own startup.

Takeoff Technologies now employs more than 270 people, according to its website. The company was planning to launch its service in Ukraine, among other countries. Apparently, those plans are now at least postponed.

According to sources, the company has recently fallen on hard times and has changed its operating model, which requires fewer people to support it.

A commentary of a dismissed employee

Now the former Director of Quality Assurance at Takeoff Technologies, Alex Zaichenko, explained the situation at the request of AIN.Capital. Here is the full quote:

“First of all, I want to mention a few essential things that people can understand the current state of things. This company was and is a part of the family for many who worked there for over three years, and some of them were there since the very beginning of the product development and company foundation.

It is also worth mentioning that the company did a lot for Ukrainian employees after the Russian invasion: substantial extra bonuses and compensations (for living and travel costs, etc.) and new risk management according to our unique situation so the Ukrainians could be sure concerning their security issues.

Our dismissal, however, is a pity, but this is how this business works. Ukraine, in general, is a high-risk investment region, and not every company is ready to take risks. It may sound sad, but it’s just business.

Sure, some of the employees could feel angry or annoyed. But I would be somewhat impartial in the current situation.

  1. All dismissed specialists were allowed to keep their working equipment — from their chairs to very expensive MacBooks.
  2. Everyone has received significant compensation that was not a part of the contracts with the company.
  3. We were allowed to take time to download from our accounts all data we needed and say goodbye to our colleagues, friends, managers, etc. We weren’t just cut without notification as IT companies usually do.

So I want that people know all the good about the company. Finally, the market got many cool professionals ready for new projects and challenges.”