The morning after Vladimir Putin announced a military attack on Ukraine, Steve and Tania packed their bags in their Kyiv apartment and made their way to the border. After 12 hours of waiting with thousands of others, they made it to Poland, then Germany, Bulgaria, and eventually the U.S.
Almost a year later from their home in Brooklyn, they continue to run Open Class Actions, a website they started in October 2021 dedicated to finding class action settlements and lawsuits that they started back in Ukraine before the war disrupted millions of lives. “We worked on the site even while we were fleeing Ukraine and jumping from place to place in Europe and figuring out our next steps,” Steve recalls. “It may have kept us sane, now that I look back on it.”
Steve, who was born in Ukraine but grew up in the U.S. moved to Kyiv several years ago, where he met Tania.
After a couple of years of discussions, the two finally launched Open Class Actions while both working full-time jobs - Steve in data and Tania in marketing - the couple spent every free hour building the site. “My mom works in the legal industry and I’ve always been aware of what class actions are,” Steve says. “I just found that looking online for these class actions, I couldn't find a really simple source, it was always over complicated. I just figured okay, there's a gap here.”
For Tania, the idea of creating the website served a bigger purpose. “It’s really important for me, as a person from a former Soviet Union country, to know what my rights are,” she explains. “Even if you’re the little guy, you have the ability to win against big companies in the world."