In February, instant-delivery firm Buyk was just days away from receiving $275 million in cash when the Russian invasion of Ukraine sent the startup spiraling into liquidation, co-founder Rodion Shishkov told The Information.
The New York–based startup had arranged new funding from Russian investors including USM Holdings, the global investment company founded by Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, Shishkov said—an agreement that hasn’t been previously reported. But that deal fell apart in the hours following the Russian attack as all of Buyk’s Russia-based investors pulled out of the new funding round including USM, he said. Usmanov is one of over a half-dozen oligarchs sanctioned by the U.S. and European governments for his close connections to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
After the new investment fell through, Shiskov and his Buyk co-founder, Slava Bocharov, prepared a personal loan to keep the company afloat. But on February 28, Putin announced a ban prohibiting Russian residents from sending money to foreign bank accounts. (Both Shishkov and Bocharov are Russian citizens.) With no cash left, the company furloughed most of its 870 full- and part-time employees earlier this month and began the process of liquidating its assets.