Kyiv startup yoCard enters Russian market as first step to international expansion

Disregarding the current tensions between Ukraine and Russia, yoCard, a Kyiv (Kiev) -based startup developing a virtual mobile wallet application to store customer loyalty and discount cards, has made public its first steps on the Russian market as part of its international strategy. This strategic move has already been done or is under consideration by many other Ukrainian startups due to the proximity and cultural similarities between the two markets.

“We have some good deals coming on board and we do have further plans to penetrate the Russian market based on my experience in Ukraine,” said the startup’s CEO Maksim Masiliy in an exchange with Ukraine Digital News.

While declining to provide business details, the entrepreneur – who makes no secret of his patriotic views on his Facebook page – believes that politics “should not pose a problem [in business].”

“Our project has Israeli roots and some partners are from Ukraine, and everyone is a patriot to their country – which is completely legitimate in my opinion. I am managing the Ukraine and Russian market at this point to share my experience, and I hope our partners there do enjoy working with me.”

The startup’s international ambitions, however, are not limited to the Russian market. “There are two other post-Soviet markets and some European ones where we are looking to expand to by 2015, but the final list and the priorities are not defined yet,” Masiliy says.

Having received in October of last year a $300,000 investment from Ukrainian business angels, yoCard is already showing significant results on the domestic market. Having partnered with more than 70 outlet networks, the startup claims 35,000 users.

In July, Kyiv mall SkyMall teamed up with yoCard to introduce the IBeacon customer loyalty and discount technology.

The yoCard concept was not inspired by foreign models, Masiliy told Ukraine Digital News. “In general, similar apps are related to stamp cards and cafés/restaurants, while we are focusing on solutions for retailers and networks. Our inspiration came from the desire to help consumers that hold up to dozens of plastic cards from different shops.”

Topics: International, News, Startups, Ukraine-Russia
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