In early November The Locals, a Russian online platform for apartment rentals, made its debut in Ukraine — just days after Yandex.Taxi, another service from Russia, entered the market.
Launched in 2010, the service covers Russian cities Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Kazan. Following the extension to Kyiv (Kiev), The Locals is planning launch in Warsaw and Tel Aviv “in a couple of months or so,” co-founder Eugene Luchinin told Ukraine Digital News.
“We want to test our unique solution in different locations. We have started with Kiev because there are a lot of active young people looking for apartments there. Kiev is close to us and it’s easier to communicate since many people know Russian language there,” Luchinin added.
The political tensions between Russia and Ukraine have “not at all” affected the launch of the service in Ukraine, according to him.
However, “there is one thing we took into consideration [when launching the service]. Ukrainians have become less positively minded towards Russian brands. Therefore we have decided to make it less visible that we are from Russia. We have translated the interface into Ukrainian, although we know that the majority of [Ukrainians] can handle Russian interface,” added Luchinin.
Presently the service is offered free of charge. Paid services will be introduced within a year. According to Ukrainian tech blog AIN.UA, The Locals expects its Ukrainian branch to reach breakeven within eighteen months.
Source: The Locals, AIN.UA.