Stuzo is a well-known information technology company based in Philadelphia that specializes in digital commerce. As one of the main developers of the social network Facebook, the firm went on to create successful services such as Compliments, My Heritage and Sports Fan. A few years later, it entered the Ukrainian market. Find out more information on the company’s fascinating history, including when and by whom it was created, the formation of the enterprise and its assistance to Ukrainians during the Russian full-scale invasion, at philadelphia-future.
How did it all start?
In 2005, a native of the City of Brotherly Love, Aaron McLean, founded a company called Stuzo. Initially, it was involved in the creation of innovative concepts, digital advertisement of customers’ products and consolidation of people around their common interests. Later, McLean came across an article about Mark Zuckerberg’s forthcoming Facebook platform launch and the life of the Philadelphian has changed forever since then.
McLean admired the aforementioned social network. The platform grew before his eyes, and when the user count reached more than 25,000, he realized that the project had great potential. Stuzo’s business strategy has shifted. The company started developing social apps for Facebook.
Simultaneously, the company from the City of Brotherly Love released three highly successful social applications: Compliments, My Heritage and Sports Fan. They had a total subscriber base of more than three million people. A month later, the enthusiasts received an offer to sell the company, but they turned it down despite significant issues related to constant investment.
Development of the Philadelphia company
At some point, the company owner of Stuzo realized that in the field of producing novel social applications, they are as confident as possible. Furthermore, their recent projects have opened up several prospects for brand marketing. The company was fairly profitable, especially after one project that included a collaboration on developing an innovative platform for a debut entrepreneur.
In 2008, concerns over the future of the business, which had not yet reached market stability, remained within the Philadelphia-based firm. Some thought that creating products that would develop social applications with a focus on the potential customer would be more profitable in terms of revenue, and others thought it was reasonable to take a risk and reach out to well-known service companies, focusing on the production of branded programs for them.
Aaron McLean’s unexpected meeting with Mark Zuckerberg himself helped him to choose the right path. The entrepreneurs agreed to establish a partnership by signing a several-year agreement. It stated that McLean’s company would develop and promote advertising campaigns on Facebook.
In the aforementioned fateful year, Stuzo still managed to launch its debut project on the Facebook fan page. From that point forward, the company began its journey to the top.
Then, Stuzo started working on the Win Big advertising network, which comprises numerous deployable code packages. The latest features allowed new project production departments to quickly and economically launch individual branded interactive promotions that are posted on Facebook pages and individual websites.
Why did they decide to establish a branch in Ukraine?
In 2009, Stuzo became a fairly popular IT company. The Philadelphia company was growing so quickly that it didn’t even have time to staff the headquarters with talented personnel. Those creative holes were filled with bright Ukrainian IT specialists. The American company has discovered that Ukraine has a strong potential for workers in the field of information technology, so the owner of Stuzo opened its first branches in the country.
The ambitious project was also aimed at an educational mission, so Aaron McLean himself made a 4-month visit to Ukraine. During this time, he established more than just an office with 13 employees, who were in constant contact with American executives. Before returning to his country, McLean left a significant part of the Stuzo company and all of its values in Ukraine.
On February 24, 2022, Vladimir Putin announced the so-called “special military operation”, and, in reality, a full-scale invasion began, after 8 years of conflict in the Donbas. The Stuzo company at that time had more than 95 employees, which is almost two-thirds of the staff of the entire company, who were located in Ukraine. So, a few days later, the Americans agreed on a temporary permit to relocate their personnel and their families abroad. More than seventy Ukrainian IT workers were evacuated as far away from the conflict as possible during the aforementioned terrible year. At the same time, Stuzo paid for four weeks of travel and accommodation.
“What would we do if Pennsylvania was surrounded by millions of troops? We would want to get our team out of there as soon as possible,” the owner of Stuzo told American media in 2022.