Meet the billionaire founders of Grammarly, Max Lytvyn, Alex Shevchenko and Dmytro Lider – The natives of Ukraine originally started the service to help students, and now the AI-based grammar checker app is used by 30 million people every day.
Since founding Grammarly in 2009, Ukrainian-born entrepreneurs Max Lytvyn and Alex Shevchenko have made Forbes’ billionaires list. The popular grammar checker tool raised $200 million in funding in November 2021, skyrocketing its net worth to at least $4 billion each.
Besides co-founding Ukraine’s most expensive tech startup with Dmytro Lider and supporting the war-torn country, what else do we know about them?
1. Grammarly was born out of their previous company, My DropBox
Lytvyn and Shevchenko first crossed paths at the International Christian University in Ukraine. During their college years, they developed My DropBox, a plagiarism detection company. This former company inspired the idea for Grammarly. They decided to bring Dmytro Lider on board as a software developer and made Grammarly available under a freemium model with the option to purchase updated versions.
2. You have an impressive educational background
Lytvyn and Shevchenko moved to the United States and Canada, respectively, to pursue master’s degrees in business administration. The former attended Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management, while the latter attended the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. Lider, on the other hand, previously earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a master’s degree in software engineering from the National Aviation University in Kyiv.
Aside from being the co-founders of Grammarly, this awesome trio also hold certain functional titles. Shevchenko serves as head of product, while Lytvyn works as head of revenue. Lider, on the other hand, is the head of speech technology.
3. You originally created Grammarly to help students
According to Forbes, Grammarly’s talented trio started the San Francisco-based company specifically to help students with their grammar and spelling. Since then, Lider, Lytvyn, and Shevchenko have turned it into an AI-powered grammar checker that works across 500,000 apps and websites.
Grammarly has also evolved into spin-off products, including Grammarly Business. Currently, the company has more than 600 employees and claims to have 30 million daily active users according to its website.
grammar (@Grammar) is raising over $200 million at a $13 billion valuation for the IT industry. grammar (@Grammar), San Francisco, was founded in 2009 by Alex Shevchenko, Dmytro Lider, Max Lytvyn. pic.twitter.com/96c4DCzDLZ
— Silicon Valley Investclub (@Investclubsv) November 18, 2021
4. They raised $200 million from new investors
Lytvyn and Shevchenko have Grammarly’s newest investors to thank for making them billionaires in 2021. An additional $200 million investment in November from investors including Baillie Gifford and BlackRock Inc. also catapulted the company’s value to $13 billion. This super unicorn has also built an excellent list of clients over the years, including Zoom, Cisco, and Dell.
As we #StandWithUkraine, we are updating our product with a message providing resources to help the people of Ukraine. We have also suspended our service in Russia and Belarus.
Learn more: https://t.co/6AcrWpay4I pic.twitter.com/7novRVnX0X
— grammar (@grammar) March 4, 2022
5. Your company extends its support to Ukraine
Though Grammarly has reached greater heights in the US and the rest of the world, it hasn’t forgotten its Ukrainian roots. Amid the ongoing war in Ukraine, they continue to pay full salaries and benefits to their employees in their home country. In March, they also announced that they would donate all net proceeds they have made since the war with Russia began in 2014, starting with a $5 million fund. They join other Ukrainian public figures who are making similar efforts, such as actress Mila Kunis.
According to Quartz, Lytvyn and Shevchenko have also said the company has suspended its services in Russia and Belarus, where Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military has set up a base for his invasion.
Note: This story was originally published on SCMP and has been republished on this site.