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  • Hugo Walker

Russian food-tech firms hit by sanctions

Russian companies across the world have been subject to sanctions and anti-Russian sentiment since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Among these include Russian food-tech firms such as Buyk and Yango Deli and a range of start-ups.

Samokat, the Russian delivery company, launched their service Buyk in the United States last year. After a year of success in providing rapid deliveries in New York City, Buyk has filed for bankruptcy as a result of its capital assets being frozen due to sanctions.

Yandex, a Russian tech giant that handles 60% of search traffic (a figure comparable to Google in the U.S), has had to hire advisers for debt talks. Aside from being the primary search engine in Russia, Yandex has a remarkable presence in Russians’ everyday lives with the provision of the top music streaming platform, online payment service and most popular taxi app. Shares in Yandex have been suspended in the U.S, meaning that American shareholders are entitled to full repayments - which is driving Yandex into debt.

Yandex’s venture in the UK, Yango Deli, which provides speedy delivery services, has been flagged as a matter of concern by MPs for reasons such as national data privacy. Meanwhile, in the U.S, GrubHub, an autonomous delivery service that uses Yandex-made delivery robots on university campuses, has discontinued its partnership.

Russia is home to 131 food start-ups, ranging from digital accounting services that work with restaurants, plant-based protein producers and delivery services. These companies are likely to have trouble reaching investors and consumers outside of their borders.

The world is still reeling from the Russian invasion of Ukraine. While the human and political cost is lucid, the economic and financial impacts are far more complex. A ripple effect is bound to be felt if international giants like Yandex go bust. Aside from impacting individual Russian firms, living in an increasingly globalised, interconnected world means vulnerability to external shocks. Regions around the world are bracing themselves for inflation spikes and broken global supply chains.


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