Fasten, a ride-hailing company with offices in Boston and Austin, Texas, is freezing its U.S. operations following acquisition by Vezet Group, a transportation network in Russia that provides more than 1.4 million rides a day.
The company will be stopping its operations in Boston as of midnight on Sunday. In an email to BostInno, a company’s spokesperson confirmed that Boston-based employees will be laid off. Fasten has approximately 35 employees in the U.S. and 110 in Russia.
“One of the key reasons for Vezet’s acquisition of Fasten was its talented tech team, so key team members in Russia (largely developers) will be staying on,” a company’s spokesperson wrote.
As of December last year, Fasten had 30 employees working out of its Boston office on the 8th floor of Two Financial Center, near South Station. The company moved in last summer from a temporary space at WeWork South Station.
Vezet Group will use Fasten’s brand and proprietary technology to grow its business in the Russian market, where the Fasten app has already been launched in the city of Krasnodar. To fully focus on Vezet’s key market, Fasten will freeze all its operations in the U.S.
Fasten launched in the Boston market in October 2015 as a local alternative to Uber and Lyft and a flat fee per-ride business model. The company expanded to Austin in June 2016, after Uber and Lyft abandoned the market following new city regulations requiring fingerprint-based background checks. In May 2017, the two companies resumed service.
Fasten raised a $10 million Series A from Almaz Capital and UFG Private Equity and has completed over 5 million rides, the company said.
The Fasten app had 1.1 million lifetime downloads with 50,000 current monthly active users, according to local app intelligence startup Apptopia.
“We’re very proud of the product that we’ve built,” Fasten co-founder and CEO Kirill Evdakov said in a news release. “We hope that we’ve left our mark on the ride-hailing industry here with our focus on putting people first – and that we’ve inspired positive change for drivers. Fasten will continue on, just in a different incarnation, powering a key player in the Russian market.”
Acquisition of Fasten by Vezet Group is subject to regulatory approvals and other closing conditions, and completion is expected by the end of the first quarter of 2018. The amount of the deal will not be disclosed.