Uber and Lyft have lost a distant — very distant — Boston-based competitor.
The ride-hail firm Fasten on Friday announced it would close up shop in the United States after being acquired by Vezet Group, a ride-hail company in Russia, which is where two of the founders of Fasten are from. Vezet plans to use the Fasten brand in that country, the company said.
But the last rides in Boston — and the other US city where it operates, Austin, Texas — will come this weekend. Its 35 US employees will be laid off, spokeswoman Jennifer Brogan said.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Fasten launched in 2015 in Boston, with a goal of challenging Uber and Lyft by offering friendlier terms to drivers. While those companies take a percentage of drivers’ fares, Fasten charged a flat rate, of about $1.
The company later went to Austin after Uber and Lyft abdicated their markets in that city amid a fight with regulators. The companies eventually returned after a policy change at the state level. Fasten has closely guarded its operating data, but according to Brogan, it completed 5 million rides in the United States, with more than half in Austin.
Fasten is the second Boston-based transportation company in recent months to shut down in this country and start up with a new owner overseas.
Bridj, a private bus service that operated in Boston, Cambridge, and Brookline for a couple of years, shuttered in 2017. But an Australian company bought the brand and is using it there.Adam Vaccaro can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @adamtvaccaro.