Stuck in Kyiv, Ukrainian co-founder sees his company Unstoppable Domains become a unicorn in Silicon Valley

Last week Unstoppable Domains, a San Francisco-headquartered company incepted four years ago, announced the completion of a $65 million funding round involving 19 investors and bringing its valuation to more than $1 billion. 

The new unicorn specializes in “domains secured by blockchains”with such extensions as .crypto, .nft, .x, .wallet, .blockchain, etc. These domains are “more than a web address:” replacing cryptocurrency or NFT addresses “with a human readable name,” they can be used as “your login to the decentralized web and a universal username.”

To date, Unstoppable Domains has registered more than 2.4 million domains and supports more than 375 coins or tokens, as the popularity of the new web naming system is growing. (See Unstoppable Domains CEO interview in Fortune)

The company’s CTO and co-founder is a Ukrainian software developer from Kyiv. A graduate of Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, Bogdan Gusiev earned his stripes in three startups. The first one, ‘Legendary Ukraine,” was a “deadborn project” in which he “wasted his time” some 10 years ago, Gusiev confesses on his Linkedin page

Gusiev then served as CTO in a US e-commerce company called Talkable, where he “overcame the technical crisis in a company through a complete rewrite of the product”, and “maintained the system uptime at 99.95% for 6 years.”

The Ukrainian engineer came to Unstoppable Domains at its early stage of development, as the company’s technology had not been released yet. He “organized the release and further development of the technology backbone, built the company’s engineering culture […], and launched [numerous] new company products.”

CTO work amid airstrike alarms

Gusiev is still based in Kyiv now. “The war has maintained the traveling restrictions that had been around since 2020,” he told Ukraine Digital News, in a reference to the fact that Ukraine banned its male citizens aged 18 to 60 from leaving the country as the war began in late February.

“I haven’t seen other co-founders and colleagues from other countries for four years now. That is a hard hit, because personal human relationships couldn’t be underestimated — and that is especially the case for startups, creating risks of misunderstandings and lack of trust.”

However, Unstoppable Domains was initially designed for remote collaboration as it grew at its early stage during the pandemics.

Gusiev has been affected by the war in the same way as other Ukrainians: “We follow airstrike alarms, lack some public services that are closed now, and cannot make certain financial operations. But we stay strong and believe in our victory!”

Topics: Blockchain, Finance, International, News, People, Startups, Venture/Private equity
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