Experiment or desire for expansion: why does Yandex need a company in Armenia

“Service for the development of search and the cloud”, “an internal experiment aimed at promoting services” – this is how circles close to Yandex explain the emergence of a new Beyond ML brand. The IT giant registered a company with this name in Armenia, and among other goals of its creation, “the development of international branches” sounds on the sidelines. Sources differ on whether the new company will be included in the “compromise division” of assets, or whether it will remain with the RF team. The negotiation process is not easy, they argue.

The structure of the company includes ten startups

Yandex has registered a holding company Beyond ML in Armenia, according to an investigation published by RTVI on Thursday . The authors drew attention to the vacancies that appeared on HeadHunter for startups Smelter and Lawrify. Both companies are owned by Beyond ML.

From the official website of Beyond ML, it follows that this is a “venture studio for startups in the field of machine learning”, registered in Yerevan. It is noted that the company’s divisions are also open in New York, Belgrade and Seville. Another legal entity Beyond ML Inc. registered in the USA.

An extract from the register of legal entities of Armenia indicates that Beyond ML was registered in Yerevan on March 30 this year. And its owners are Dmitry Stepanov (judging by the documentation, director of Yandex for new products) and Maxim Zagrebin (head of Yandex. Search, also judging by the documentation).

The site itself was launched in April, its IP address belongs to Yandex. The Beyond ML website lists the names of six projects the company is involved in. These are weather forecasts, legal services, competitor media analytics, e-commerce, and a content moderation platform. It follows from the investigation that the Neurodub, askthecrowd, Tune The Model and Tune The Ads services also belong to the new company. Some of these ten startups are run by ex-managers of the Russian IT giant.

The new brand is the result of the desire for international development

A source close to the top management of Yandex told the publication that the new brand appeared as a result of “internal competition between divisions.” He stated that in recent years, the IT giant has sought to develop abroad. And if Yandex GO was developing the Yango brand abroad, then the Search, Cloud and Advertising Technologies division did not have such a format before, and Beyond ML covered this need.

In response to a TASS request , Yandex said that Beyond ML is an internal experiment created to promote B2B services. Also here they denied any connection of the former CEO of Yandex Group of Companies Arkady Volozh with Beyond ML.

According to the agency, the company is currently looking for employees in Serbia and the United States. The site specifies that about a hundred people around the world are working on its startups, while the teams work remotely – in Belgrade, Yerevan, Seville and New York.

The correspondent of the “Company” also found a vacancy for the head of the ML group in the Geopoisk quality team on the Yandex aggregator . A potential candidate will have to adapt Yandex.Maps to user search queries. As locations for possible work, in addition to Moscow and St. Petersburg, Yerevan and Belgrade are indicated.

old plans

The fact that Yandex, as a result of the agreement, could be divided into two parts – Russian and international, was reported in the media back in May. Then it was assumed that the new structure could open in Yerevan, and Tel Aviv was called an alternative.

In July, it became known that the IT giant will have an office in Armenia, aimed at coordinating the company’s activities in the CIS countries. At the same time, information appeared about the registration of a legal entity in Serbia by Yandex. The founder of the Serbian representative office of Yandex was Petr Popov, who at the end of April headed Yandex.Technologies LLC and the search, advertising and cloud services business group. In the company itself, this was explained by a technical formality, recalling that the company has subdivisions in different cities of Russia and the world.

At the same time, the interlocutor of the “Company” from IT circles heard that people are now recruiting for the Serbian office, who will be engaged, among other things, in the development of drones and Yandex.Practicum, that is, services that, according to The Bell sources (recognized foreign agent), who has been living in Israel for several years, Volozh has long dreamed of developing abroad. However, then it was said that the section could also touch on the “cloud”. The publication wrote that “Yandex” in the course of the transaction could be divided into Russian and international businesses, calling it a “compromise section.”

At the end of November, information about preparations for the restructuring of assets was confirmed in the holding itself. The scenario for the division of business into Russian and foreign directions is being discussed by the Board of Directors of Yandex, they said here. The company added that the parent structure of Yandex NV, registered in the Netherlands, will leave the number of owners of the Russian business and will be renamed. The business of autonomous cars, cloud technologies, educational services and data labeling platforms will continue to operate in Russia, but their international parts will be separated into independent companies, the press service of the IT giant explained.

RTVI sources disagreed whether Beyond ML would become part of a Russian company or an international structure. One of them called the issue “unresolved”, the other believes that the project will be retained by the RF team. Negotiations on the transfer of rights to drones, cloud services and educational programs, in his words, are not simple anyway.


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