As the war between Russia and Ukraine continues with reports of casualties coming from both sides, one of the most valuable tech startups in the US, Grammarly Inc., continues to pay full salaries and benefits to its employees based in Ukraine who have joined the country’s army to fight against the Russian invasion, international news agency Bloomberg reported quoting the company’s chief executive officer on Monday.
Quoting CEO Brad Hoover, the report said “the team is, first and foremost, focused on their safety,” as he declines to specify how many of his employees had joined Ukraine’s defense effort.
Prior to the war, nearly half of Grammarly’s more than 600 staffers were based in Ukraine.
Hoover said many of those people have since left the country or relocated to areas within Ukraine that are safer from conflict, the report said.
Grammarly makes a typing assistant and was valued by investors at $13 billion in November. When the fighting started, its departments with operations in Ukraine shifted those responsibilities elsewhere within the company. Hoover said initially he spent a significant amount of time on relocation and relief efforts, and that a majority of the company’s Ukrainian workforce is now back online. Grammarly also offered paid leaves of absence for workers who were forced to flee their homes because of the fighting.
“This is destroying people’s lives,” the report said quoting Hoover. “It’s an incredible tragedy.”
The report quoting Rahul Roy-Chowdhury, Grammarly’s global head of product, said the company hasn’t changed its priorities as it makes second-quarter plans. But some progress on Grammarly’s goals may be slower than previously expected, he said.
Grammarly raised $200 million last fall from investors including funds managed by BlackRock Inc. and Baillie Gifford & Co. Hoover said the funding round wasn’t intended as top-off financing before an initial public offering, though an IPO or direct listing could be in the company’s future down the line. Grammarly has been profitable “pretty much since inception,” he said.
“We run ourselves like a public company,” Hoover was quoted as saying. “Because we don’t need to IPO, we view that as something we can save for the future.”