Bolt, the leading on-demand transport platform in Africa and Europe, has announced its largest-ever funding round to fast-track the mission to have cities move in more affordable and sustainable ways.
Part of the funds will be used to accelerate the expansion of Bolt’s new and existing mobility and delivery products across Eastern African markets. These investments will boost ride-hailing services in Kenya, emphasizing enhancing the safety features on the platform for drivers and passengers. It will also accelerate the expansion of Bolt Food services across more urban areas in Kenya, driver and courier empowerment.
This investment will further contribute to a more reliable marketplace, enhance safety features to improve customer experience, and create more earning opportunities for the drivers and couriers.
“We continue to scale up our operations for the benefit of our customers and the communities in which we operate. The funds will speed up the expansion of our existing mobility and delivery products across our region’s markets. We believe that the future of urban transport is a network of on-demand services, including ride-hailing, food, and grocery delivery. Bolt focuses on creating quality, affordable and sustainable services that will enhance urban mobility and provide viable economic opportunities across East Africa,” said Micah Kenneth, Regional Manager, Bolt East Africa.
The €628 million investment round was led by Sequoia Capital and Fidelity Management and Research Company LLC with participation from Whale Rock, Owl Rock (a division of Blue Owl), D1, G Squared, Tekne, Ghisallo, and others, and takes Bolt’s valuation to €7.4 billion.
Markus Villig, founder and CEO at Bolt, said: “For decades, cities have been built for cars, not people. Unfortunately, that has led to unsustainable traffic, pollution, and loss of public space to parking places. We think this approach is outdated.
“Over the past eight years, we have developed products that offer better and more affordable alternatives for almost every purpose a private car serves. We’re partnering with cities to help people make the switch towards light vehicles such as scooters and e-bikes and shared mobility options like ride-hailing and car-sharing to transform urban areas back into sustainable, people-friendly spaces.
“That’s why we’re pleased to announce this new round of funding – the biggest in our history – which will help us build a future in which cities have less congestion, less pollution, and more green spaces where people can easily move around safely and sustainably.”
Bolt recently launched a Women-Only ride category in Kenya, geared towards empowering women drivers while providing an alternative to female passengers to flexibly and conveniently move around. The category further aims to enhance the safety and security of women who use Bolt’s platform.
Bolt is also investing heavily in green transport options across Africa.
Other products that the funds will boost include; car-sharing service dubbed Bolt Drive in Europe; and Bolt Market, a 15-minute grocery delivery service.
Bolt Market, one of the company’s newest products, was developed and launched during the pandemic and already operated dozens of stores in ten countries across Europe. With this new investment, Bolt will accelerate its expansion rapidly in 2022 and plans to have hundreds of stores operational by the end of the year.