Ride-hailing app Bolt has announced a new funding round of €628m (£524m) to further scale its existing products and accelerate the transition from owned cars to shared mobility in cities, taking Bolt’s valuation to €7.4bn (£6.2bn).
Markus Villig, founder and chief exec at Bolt, said: “For decades, cities have been built for cars, not people. That has led to unsustainable traffic, pollution and loss of public space to parking places. We think this approach is outdated.
Villig said the funding will help “build a future in which cities have less congestion, less pollution and more green spaces where people can easily move around in a safe and sustainable way.”
Speaking to Sky News this morning, Villig addressed concerns surrounding Bolt driver’s rights, following Uber’s classification of drivers as ’employees’.
In response, Villig said: ““We see that the vast majority of couriers like the current model and like the flexibility and want to stay independent”.
“We don’t think forcing all of them into one model makes sense. But there needs to be some sort of hybrid solution”, he asserted.
2021 saw Bolt continue its rapid nationwide expansion across the UK, which marked its arrival in sixteen UK cities including Edinburgh, Cardiff and Birmingham.
Last month, Bolt announced a range of new safety features to be incorporated on its scooter-sharing network, the largest in Europe. These features include a tandem riding prevention system, which can detect more than one person riding a scooter at the same time, a cognitive reaction test to ensure riders stay as safe as possible, and a skid prevention system meaning scooters are only used in a safe and responsible manner.
Bolt’s services are currently used by more than 100 million customers in 45 countries and over 400 cities across Europe and Africa. Other products also include its ride-hailing service; car-sharing service Bolt Drive; Bolt Food, which enables customers to order meals from restaurants; and Bolt Market, a 15-minute grocery delivery service.