Bolt raises €100m funding, boosting value to €1.7bn amid diversification push

By Lucy Ingham

Uber rival Bolt has seen its value climb to €1.7bn ($1.9m) in a funding round that is designed to help it diversify its offerings beyond ride-hailing.

The startup, which is based in Tallinn, Estonia and was formerly known as Taxify, raised €100m in the round from Naya Captial Management.

This sees the total raised by Bolt top €300m, while its valuation has nearly doubled since May 2018, when it was valued at $1bn.

The funding round comes at a challenging time for Bolt, with the coronavirus causing a slump in demand for ride-hailing services that is believed to have had a severe impact on its bottom line. However, today’s news suggests that its efforts to diversify are paying off.

Bolt funding to support push into micromobility, food

Bolt, which currently operates in over 150 countries around Europe and Africa, has made a clear effort to diversify its offering since the coronavirus pandemic started, particularly with Bolt Food, its rival service to Uber Eats, which enables users to order food from local restaurants for delivery.

This was initially launched in September 2019, but Bolt told Verdict that it has upped the pace of rollout since the pandemic hit.

“In the last months, we’ve accelerated launches of Bolt Food, which now operates in 12 countries and is due to expand to more markets,” a Bolt spokesperson told Verdict.

It also plans to up its e-scooter service, which currently enables users to hire scooters in several European cities, with Bolt telling Verdict that it intended to “launch e-scooters in 45 new cities this season”.

As a result, Bolt plans to use the new funding to support growth across its range of services, rather than focusing on one specific segment.

“We’ll use the funding to strengthen Bolt’s position in all of its product segments from ride-hailing to micromobility and food delivery in Europe and Africa,” the spokesperson said.

“Fair valuation”: Bolt funding shows promise despite coronavirus

The latest valuation suggests that not only are investors seeing promise in Bolt’s strategy, but that currently operational challenges are being perceived as only temporary issues.

“The fundraising environment is definitely more risk-averse at the moment,” the Bolt spokesperson said, “but we think this is a fair valuation given the impact the crisis has had on the business and the industry.”


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