Mobility platform Bolt raises US$182m to grow its business in Africa and Europe

AFRICA – Bolt, Europe’s leading on-demand mobility platform, has raised 150 million euros (US$182 million) to bolster the safety of its platform through facial recognition and artificial intelligence.

The investment was led by D1 Capital Partners, with the participation of Darsana Capital Partners. Tallinn-based Bolt confirmed in the press release that the company will use the funds further to enhance the safety and quality of its products as it continues to grow its ride-hailing, micromobility and food delivery services in Europe and Africa.

Founded by Markus Villig, Martin Villig, and Oliver Leisalu, the Uber rival has developed an on-demand network of ride-hailing, micromobility, and food delivery services in 200 cities and 40 countries. Bolt Food, launched in 2019, is currently available in 16 countries and 33 cities.

“Despite the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bolt has seen immense growth in the past year. We have almost doubled our number of customers and launched our services from ride-hailing to micromobility and food delivery in 50 new cities,” Markus Villig, CEO and co-founder, Bolt said.

“In 2021, we are doubling down to be the industry leader in safety and quality of the platform. We’re planning to launch even more innovative solutions, like driver face verification and automatic trip monitoring, using machine learning to prevent potential incidents and ensure the highest quality service for our customers.”

Founded originally as Taxify and slowly growing the business just around ride-hailing for a number of years in less-scrutinized emerging markets, the company rebranded in 2019 as it kicked its strategy into a higher gear, with launches in cities like London and a move into micromobility, primarily around electric scooters.

“We are excited to partner with Bolt as they continue to build a market-leading mobility platform across Europe and Africa. The team has executed incredibly well during a challenging year and continues to provide millions of users with safety, flexibility and great value,” Dan Sundheim, Founder of D1 Capital said.

“We are optimistic about the growth opportunity ahead for Bolt after the COVID-19 pandemic and look forward to supporting the team as they invest in innovation over the coming years.”

With already 50 million users globally, Bolt is planning to become the biggest micro mobility provider in Europe, launching scooters in more than 100 cities next season.

A few days back, the Estonian company also unveiled its fourth-generation scooter – Bolt 4 – which will be first launched in Bergen, Norway in the beginning of 2021. To date, the European company has raised £440 million (US$597.51m) of funding.

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