Yandex, a Russian technology giant and car-sharing company, plans to expand its car-sharing offerings into Europe as other companies in the space retreat, according to a report by the Financial Times.
Anton Ryazanov, a Yandex executive, said the company will put 1,000 electric vehicles in an unspecified city in the EU. Madrid and Copenhagen are reportedly being considered, as well as cities in France and Italy.
Yandex’s car-sharing service was founded in 2018. The company says it is the largest car-sharing organization in the world, with 21,000 cars in Russia.
As many western automakers are leaving the industry, Yandex has been growing and becoming more successful. Sharenow, a joint operation between Daimler’s car-sharing service and BMW, said it will no longer operate in North America or the U.K. due to long-term profitability concerns.
Ryazanov said the company has been able to scale so quickly because it has experience in the search engine market and its ride-sharing app Taxi has helped it to grow.
“This has all been automated from the beginning. We knew our fleet was going to grow intensively, so we couldn’t afford to put people in that value chain,” he said.
Some analysts, including those at UBS, expect Yandex, which has a valuation of $600M, to double its revenues by the end of the year. The business will be profitable in “the next few years,” Ryazanov said, and the company may start selling subscriptions to help increase numbers.
Russia’s car-sharing market grew five times in 2018 to reach $110 million, and it attracts about 229,000 users per month. The largest market in the world is in Moscow, with 30,000 cars.