business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  The Washington Post reports that when fast delivery service Buyk declared bankruptcy, laid off 900 employees and went out of business earlier this year, it was a direct result of the US sanctions against Russia and that country's oligarchs, banks and businesses.

"Buyk, pronounced 'bike,' was the U.S. subsidiary of Samokat (which means 'scooter'), one of Russia’s most popular grocery-delivery services. Buyk launched in New York City in September 2021 and Chicago in December, with plans to serve Boston, Houston, Miami and Los Angeles by the end of 2022.

"Although Buyk was incorporated in the United States, co-founders Vyacheslav 'Slava' Bocharov and Rodion Shihskov were also the founders of Samokat."

The Post writes that "for many Americans, sanctions may conjure images of agents raiding an oligarch’s half-billion-dollar yacht or putting a Premier League soccer team on the auction block.

"But economic sanctions can also be a blunt instrument, punishing civilians along with the rich and powerful.

"The unprecedented depth and speed of U.S. sanctions for the invasion of Ukraine disrupted not just the lives of average Russians but also office workers and couriers as far away from Moscow as New York and Chicago."

When sanctions were imposed, the US "immediately targeted 10 of Russia’s largest financial institutions, cutting Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank, off from the U.S. financial system … the actions against Sberbank would prove fatal, choking Buyk off from a source of cash at a critical point in its development.  Through a joint venture, Sberbank and Russian Internet company Group owned 75.6 percent of Samokat."

While Bocharov and Shihskov were not on any sanctions list, their ability to stay in business, and the importance of Americans getting fast delivery via their service, pales compared to the critical importance of stopping Russia in Ukraine, lest it decide to continue pushing and committing war crimes in more countries and against more people.

•  Business Insider reports that "UPS has acquired e-commerce logistics startup Delivery Solutions for an undisclosed sum … This acquisition is UPS's second in two years. The delivery giant acquired gig-economy delivery company Roadie in September.

"Founded in 2017 by Arshaad Mirza and Manil Uppal, Delivery Solutions is an e-commerce logistics orchestration platform that allows retailers to access same-day delivery services from dozens of delivery providers, like Uber and Lyft. Roadie is a listed service on the Delivery Solutions platform, along with Walmart's GoLocal delivery service."

•  Fast Company reports that "drone delivery company Flytrex announced its new partnership today with The Ice Cream Shop, Unilever’s first online-only shop, offering ice cream delivery straight from the sky to residents in North Carolina and Texas.

"After placing an order through the Flytrex app, users can expect to receive packages of ice cream in their front or back yard, 'delivered with a flight time of under three minutes,” according to a press release. Unilever’s The Ice Cream Shop offers products from top ice cream brands, such as Ben & Jerry’s, Breyers, and Talenti.

"To prevent spillage - or melting - during delivery, Flytrex uses a wire-release system from its drones, lowering items, such as ice cream, milkshakes, or a dozen eggs, rather than dropping orders from the air. Flytrex packaging is designed to uphold a product’s quality during flight and delivery … In addition to ice cream, Flytrex earlier this year announced partnerships with Jersey Mike’s Subs and It’s Just Wings."