Estonia-headquartered mobility startup Bolt has raised €150m (£135m) in its biggest funding round to date.

The company, which runs a ride-hailing network and provides rental e-scooters, said it will use the funds to expand micromobility and food delivery services in Europe and Africa.

It will also allocate funds to rolling out new safety products for its 50 million users, including automated trip monitoring to predict potential accidents.

D1 Capital Partners led the funding round, with participation from Darsana Capital Partners.

Founded in 2013 as Taxify, Bolt has expanded to more than 200 cities in 40 countries and now rivals Uber in many European cities. It is the second largest ride-hailing app In London after Uber, with 2 million customers in the capital.

“Despite the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, Bolt has seen immense growth in the past year,” said Bolt CEO and co-founder Markus Villig.

“We have almost doubled our number of customers and launched our services from ride-hailing to micromobility and food delivery in 50 new cities.”

The Tallinn-headquartered startup launched Bolt Food in 2019 to compete with delivery firms such as Uber Eats and Deliveroo. It is now available in 33 cities across 16 countries.

Bolt funding round pushes up valuation

The latest funding round means total investment in Bolt now tops €450m, following a €100m round in May this year that pushed its valuation to €1.7bn. A Bolt spokesperson told Verdict that the latest funding round has increased its valuation once again but did not disclose the amount.

While the sums invested in Bolt are notable, they are dwarfed by the $24.5bn raised by Uber before it went public in May 2019.

Villig has previously described these figures as “absolutely ridiculous” and that they can encourage a culture of profligacy. Uber is yet to make a profit.

Bolt, by contrast, said in December 2019 it had broken even or reached profitability in two-thirds of its markets.

However, lockdown restrictions have decimated the revenues of ride-hailing firms. Many have shifted their focus to delivery services, with Uber Eats revenue overtaking Uber’s taxi business during the height of lockdown restrictions.

“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,” said Dan Sundheim, founder of D1 Capital.

Bolt’s funding round follows recent notable investments in European micromobility firms Tier and Voi.

In November, Germany-based Tier scooped $250m in an investment round led by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank. Earlier this month Sweden-based Voi secured $160m in capital.

In March, Villig told Verdict that there were no plans for Bolt to go public in the near future. Verdict understands that this remains the case.


Read more: Don’t expect a Bolt IPO any time soon, says CEO Markus Villig