Bolt, the European on-demand transport company, raises $109M on a $1.9B valuation

  • Bolt, a rival to Uber and others providing on-demand ridesharing, scooters and other transportation services, is today announcing it has picked up an additional €100 million ($109 million) in a convertible note.
  • Bolt also confirmed that is now valued at €1.7 billion (or nearly $1.9 billion at today’s rates).
  • The money is coming from a single investor, Naya Capital Management, which was also a major backer of the company in its last round, a $67 million Series C in July 2019.
  • The funding is one more example of how investors are continuing to support their most promising, and/or most capitalised, portfolio companies as they face drastic losses of business during the COVID-19 pandemic, which can only be more complicated for a startup built on a business model that — even in the best of times — is very capital-intensive.

 Ride-hailing service Bolt said on Tuesday it has raised 100 million euros ($109 million) from London-based investment firm Naya Capital Management in a deal valuing the European rival of Uber at 1.7 billion euros.

Bolt said the funding would allow it to grab market share in a sector hurt by COVID-19, as lockdowns have kept customers indoors, and rivals Uber (UBER.N), Lyft (LYFT.O) and Softbank-backed Ola cut thousands of jobs.

“In the next 12-18 months we have an opportunity to win market share,” Bolt founder and Chief Executive Markus Villig told Reuters in an interview.

“Even though the crisis has temporarily changed how we move, the long-term trends that drive on-demand mobility such as declining personal car ownership or the shift towards greener transportation continue to grow,” Villig said.

In April, Bolt turned to Estonia’s government, asking to guarantee a 50 million euros credit, but it has since ditched the plan.

“We understood quickly that from the state side there was no interest and we buried this plan,” Villig said.

Bolt offers also scooter rental and food delivery. Bolt has expanded its food delivery business to 15 countries from four during this year as demand has surged.

“It has multiplied. If you look at countries, from 4 to 15, the deliveries have grown faster,” Villig said.

The 2013-founded Bolt — which has over 30 million users in 35 countries — has grabbed business from Uber mostly in major African cities and Eastern Europe.

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