Bolt, the on-demand ride service dispatching, shared vehicles and motorbikes, and restaurant and grocery delivery firm with the same name app, has received €628 million ($709 million at recent prices) at a valuation of €7.4 billion ($8.4 billion).
It will use the money to further expand to different regions and bring more users and partners to its great app platform and fresh business lines, such as its 15-minute grocery home delivery service Bolt Market, which will create “dark stores” in more towns to spread its services beyond the ten where it is particularly present.
Whale Rock, Owl Rock (a division of Blue Owl), D1, G Squared, Tekne, Ghisallo, and other unknown supporters also participated in the round, which was co-led by Sequoia Capital, Fidelity Management, and Research Company LLC.
Bolt was founded eight years ago as Taxify in Tallinn, Estonia, with an objective to bring ride-hailing to evolving markets and countries where others like Uber had yet to establish a strong significant presence, a plan that is used to decently increase across geographic areas like Central and Eastern Europe and Africa, attracting new investment like China’s Didi, which had created a large business in its own developing markets. Last year, Didi secretly sold its interest in Bolt.
The concentration has stayed on Europe and Africa over time, but Bolt discovered that many of the lessons learned from those early launches could be implemented just as successfully in more industrialized countries, with more profitable payoffs.
Markus Villig, the company’s founder and CEO, stated that all of Bolt’s business segments are expanding. Even its most established business, ride-hailing, is growing by double digits, according to Villig, while the newer businesses, which are smaller, are growing even rapidly.
He went on to say that a recent trend from last year is that private vehicles are a terrible idea and that people are increasingly preferring to use other modes of transportation.
As part of its updated transportation planning process, Bolt is looking to partner with more city governments to expand its services.
The investment revelation closes a fruitful few months for the startup, which had only four months prior received €600 million in a Series E led by Sequoia at a valuation of over €4 billion.
Bolt’s services are now used by over 100 million people in 45 countries and 400+ urban areas. The firm has 75 million users in August, when it disclosed the last round, as a metric of its expansion.
Bolt’s rise is also noteworthy in light of the challenges that some of its counterparts have faced in the aftermath of Covid: The epidemic has a significant negative impact on people’s willingness to travel in a vehicle where they must sit in a confined area with another person which is the driver.
Andrew Reed, a Sequoia partner, expressed his delight at the prospect of deepening their collaboration with Markus and Bolt in order to further their aim of making urban transit more inexpensive, sustainable, and safe.
He also added that Sequoia believes in the global potential for technology and entrepreneurship and that Bolt’s expansion from Tallinn, Estonia, to over 400 cities and 100 million users across Europe and Africa has motivated them.
Sequoia is pleased to assist Bolt in expanding its footprint, expanding its product offering, and improving the long-term standard of living in cities.
Meanwhile, Bolt’s differentiation strategy, which includes scooters, couriers, and now food delivery services in addition to automobiles, is an element of its scaling strategic plan.
Putting all of the alternatives and cross-promotions under a single app not only enables Bolt to draw in new consumers and cross sell to them, but it also does so with basically zero marketing costs, according to Villig.
The advantages and shared expenses between these verticals are two characteristics that set Bolt apart and are working in our favor, he said. Villig remarked that most of Bolt’s opponents are basically concentrated on one thing in each app.
Don’t miss important articles during the week. Subscribe to techbuild.africa weekly digest for updates.