Russian tech giant Yandex expands presence in Israel with acquisition of Wind’s Tel Aviv operations – TechCrunch
Russian tech giant Yandex is expanding its mobility footprint in Israel with the acquisition of the shared Israeli operations of electric scooter company Wind. The two do not share the terms of the deal, but the Israeli financial newspaper Reported globes estimated to have cost between $ 40 million and $ 50 million.
Wind is one of the leading electric scooter sharing operators in Israel, alongside competitors like Lime, Leo and Bird. Yandex has already been operating its Yango mobility platform in the country since 2018, starting with carpooling through last mile delivery and food technology. Wind’s acquisition will expand this ecosystem by providing a wide variety of transportation and last mile solutions, according to Yandex.
It is conceivable that Yango would use the additional vehicles in the field to expand his delivery services. For example, Yandex recently launched Yango Deli, an express grocery delivery service in Tel Aviv, which relies on a network of dark stores throughout the city. The company started with 14 dark stores and expects that number to double by the end of November.
The acquisition includes Wind’s fleet of more than 10,000 scooters designed for scooter sharing, infrastructure and operating system in Israel, as well as R&D around the optimization of travel routes. Wind, which is based in Berlin and Barcelona, will always retain control of its operations across Europe. In total, the company has raised $ 72 million in funding. It serves tens of thousands of customers in 13 cities in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area and has made about 4 million trips in total, according to the company.
Wind’s acquisition also comes just months after Yandex launched its scooter-sharing platform, called Yandex Go, in Russia. The domestic market fleet is only estimated to be around 5,000 scooters, so this merger will more than double the Yandex brand. Customers in Russia will now be able to book scooters from the Wind app, as well as order scooters in Israel from the Yango app.
Yandex is also test its autonomous delivery rovers in Israel, Ann Arbor and South Korea, and says it is ready to begin robotic deliveries once it receives the corresponding permit from local authorities.
The company also says it wants to bring its robotaxis to the Yango platform in the near future.
“We’ve been testing our self-driving cars in and around Tel Aviv since early 2019,” a Yandex spokesperson told TechCrunch. “Israel offers us conditions and challenges to test our technology, which we lack in other test sites. These are, for example, all kinds of roundabouts, myriads of two-wheelers and micromobility and of course the Mediterranean heat and high humidity.
Moscow is not traditionally a bike-friendly city due to the cold weather, but during and after the lockdown, last mile delivery skyrocketed and the streets of Moscow were flooded with bicycle couriers, according to Yandex.
“Good news – our cars already knew how to deal with it,” a Yandex spokesperson said. “The Tel Aviv experience has helped us a lot in Moscow during the COVID period. “