Astound Commerce's Herculean Effort To Keep Its Ukrainian-Based People Out Of Harm's Way

While lots of companies have been affected in varying ways by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, New York-based global digital commerce specialist Astound Commerce has a unique connection—all three of its founders are Ukrainian.

Those cofounders--Ilya Vinogradsky, Igor Gorin, and Roman Martynenko--immigrated as teenagers from what was then part of the Soviet Union to San Francisco around 1990.  That’s where they founded the company, which now has operations in 26 countries, including the Ukraine where the firm has been working strenuously since the war began to relocate and otherwise keep its people there safe. Plans were in the works well before Russia started the war.

The company didn’t want to go into a lot of detail about those efforts as some staffers have opted
to remain in Kyiv. But the majority of the team has been safely relocated to western Ukraine or Slovakia and other countries in Western Europe. Co-founder and Chief Solutions Officer Vinogradsky, CFO Tom Spellios and Global Chief of Staff Roxanne Goldfinch traveled to Košice, Slovakia, to oversee the relocations and other safety efforts.



Two years ago, the company hired Michael Kahn for the role of Global CEO. He was previously CEO of Publicis Groupe’s Performics before heading to sibling agency Digitas where he was global brand president for the agency’s North America region.

In a recent update posted on the company’s website, Kahn wrote, “As we stand in awe of how all Ukrainians are meeting this moment, we are not alone. Our clients and partners are equally humbled, and we have received an outpouring of well wishes from so many. We thank them as well for these expressions of solidarity, and in the coming days we’ll be sharing information on the most impactful ways we can all make a difference.”

One way to help is to donate and the company has created JustGiving pages for International Medical Corps, Nova Ukraine and Save the Children. The pages allow anyone to contribute and donations beyond the Astound team are strongly encouraged. 

In addition to relocation support, Kahn noted in an update today, the firm is providing “guidance and continuity regarding communications, connectivity, financial services, personal safety, and military duty to our Ukraine-based employees.” The team coordinating the effort, he wrote, “has been continuously developing preventative measures and actionable response plans—all fully funded by Astound, including transportation and accommodations for team members and their families who relocate.”

Like most of the world the company has strongly condemned Russia’s aggression. It has cut ties with internal and external contractors located in Belarus and Russia until the hostilities are “peacefully and permanently resolved.” The company has also resigned all work with its Russian-based clients. 


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