Civic News

These Baltimore companies are intervening to help Ukrainian civilians and staff

Sisu Global Health is shipping its unique blood transfusion devices to assist surgeries, while Return Solutions continues to work with its Ukrainian colleagues through the invasion.

A sign reading "Help Ukraine" at a protest against the Russian-led invastion

By Flickr user Gerry Popplestone

With no tangible peace in sight, at least two local startups, differing in focus and approach, are working to assist Ukrainians living through Russia’s ongoing invasion.

One, the Remington–based medical device startup Sisu Global Health, recently sent its first shipment of the company’s Hemafuse devices to help save the lives of those that need blood transfusions.

The Hemafuse device pumps blood from an internal hemorrhage into a blood bag, allowing it to be reused. This process is known as known as autotransfusion and can supplant the need for donor blood in an active warzone, where triage is the norm and donor blood can be scarce. The company is currently trying to raise $110,000 dollars, with which it hopes to deliver Hemafuse devices for 1,000 surgeries.

The shipments will go directly to Kyiv and, if all goes well, offer crucial support for blood transfusions happening on the ground. According to a crowdfunding page the company included in the tweet above, a $110 donation supports a device for one surgery in Ukraine.

Another local company, the sales intelligence-focused Return Solutions, draws its full stack dev team from the Ukrainian software company Xenoss. The seven-person developent team is spread throughout Ukraine, including in the cities of Kyiv, Odessa and Lviv. Using a business continuity plan that it shared with Return Solutions months before the Russian invasion, the Ukrainian team has kept working throughout the war. A press release noted that the developers work with their coats on case they need to flee to air raid shelters. That detail aside, the 2022 RealLIST Startups honoree’s CEO Greg Dvorken stressed the prioritization of safety and noted that the Ukrainian devs remain resolute to their work for the sake of normalcy amidst the chaos.

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“[I] heard a story the other day from one of [the dev team members] that a Russian plane was knocked out of the sky and landed a kilometer from his house,” Dvorken told Technical.ly. “He saw it happen and he was in his basement. I try to think about what would that be like. It’s so incomprehensible. You see it in a movie, but I couldn’t imagine seeing it with my own eyes.”

Dvorken meets with the Ukrainian dev team every Monday morning. Over the past 45 days since the invasion began, Dvorken said, the team at Xenoss has produced the sales tech company’s most important work to date. It’s a strange dichotomy for Dvorken: The work output has never been better, even as it came from team members who take Zoom calls from their bathtubs, ready to run to a shelter at a moment’s notice.

“I wish I could do more. I wish there were other things we could do,” Dvorken said. “[Xenoss’ developers] also seem to be stronger than ever at this point. I’m just very impressed with them as a team and as a country. It just kind of blows my mind.”

The Xenoss team meets with Return Solutions’ CEO Greg Dvorken. (Courtesy screenshot)

 

Do you know of any tech companies in and around Baltimore that are working to support Ukranians, whether on their staff or beyond? Let us know at baltimore@technical.ly.


Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation. -30-
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