- Ultrafast grocery delivery company Buyk has temporarily furloughed workers amid cash flow challenges, Buyk CEO James Walker said in an emailed statement.
- Walker said Buyk’s financing from the company’s Russian founders, Slava Bocharov and Rodion Shishkov, is “untenable” due to restrictions Russia has put in place following U.S. sanctions. Walker said the two founders, who were providing bridge financing until Buyk closed its next investment round, have not been sanctioned, but with access to financing from them cut off, Buyk is seeking funding in the U.S.
- The ultrafast delivery service, which is based in the U.S. and operates in New York City and Chicago, has a note on its app to consumers: "Our services are temporarily unavailable. Check back soon!”
Buyk has been dealt a giant blow as it operates within a fiercely competitive and capital-intensive industry.
"Taking care of our employees is our top priority, so given this cash flow challenge, we have made the tough decision to temporarily furlough our employees until we are able to secure more funding sources in the US," Walker said in the statement.
Buyk furloughed 98% of its employees and retained workers in operations, human resources, finance, legal and IT, according to The New York Post, which first reported the furloughs.
Walker did not say how long Buyk expects the furloughs to last.
Buyk raised $46 million from investors ahead of its U.S. launch last year. Buyk pointed to its founders' previous experiences, including their success starting and running Russian instant grocery delivery company Samokat, as a key advantage.
"As of today, our assets still greatly exceed our liabilities, and we remain confident that Buyk’s proven ultrafast grocery model can make real-time retail a reality in the United States," Walker said in the statement.
Buyk's scramble for more domestic funding follows what Walker said was a focus for the company on moving all of its funding sources to the U.S.
Buyk, which entered the ultrafast grocery delivery space in September 2021 with its New York City debut, has been going toe-to-toe with several competitors, including Getir, Gorillas and Gopuff, in the Big Apple and in Chicago, which it entered in December. In November, the company hired Walker, a former Nathan's Famous executive, to be its new CEO.
While it's been operating in the ultrafast delivery landscape for less than a year, Buyk has worked to differentiate itself. Late last year, Buyk jumped into private label and announced plans in January to expand its assortment. At the end of February, Buyk linked up with Grubhub on convenience delivery and food waste optimization.
As ultrafast delivery catches on in urban cities around the U.S., Buyk has had its eye on expansion. The company previously told Grocery Dive it is planning to expand to Boston; Chicago; Washington, D.C.; and undisclosed locations in California and Florida in 2022.