Thursday 16 January 2020 10:00 am

European Investment Bank backs Uber rival Bolt with €50m

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is to provide Bolt with €50m (£43m) financing to the help ride-hailing app develop its technologies.

The financing, supported by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), is to boost Bolt’s product development in areas where technology can improve the safety, reliability and sustainability of its services.

Read more: Bolt is best placed app to take Uber’s London crown, says report

This includes investment in existing services such as ride-hailing and food delivery, as well as the development of new products.

“Bolt is a good example of European excellence in tech and innovation. As you say, to stand still is to go backwards, and Bolt is never standing still,” said EIB vice president Alexander Stubb.

Stubb said the bank, which is owned by EU member states, “is very happy to support the company in improving its services, as well as allowing it to branch out into new service fields.”

Bolt’s EIB funding takes the form of a venture debt — otherwise known as a quasi-equity facility — a form of financing where a loan’s financial return is calculated as a percentage of the startup’s future revenue streams, without diluting ownership of the company.

Estonia-based Bolt launched ride-hailing services in London last June, after its first attempt to conquer the capital in 2017 was scuppered by regulatory troubles. It says its user base in London has reached 1.5 million since the relaunch.

The company says it is profitable in around two thirds of its global markets, and has attracted over 30 million users since 2013.  

Bolt last year announced that all journeys taken in Europe via its platform would be made carbon-neutral through the offsetting of emissions. 

Read more: Uber rival Bolt set to secure $100m in new funding

“Mobility is one of the areas where Europe will really benefit from a local champion who shares the values of European consumers and regulators,” said Bolt co-founder Martin Villig.

“We are thrilled to have the European Investment Bank join the ranks of Bolt’s backers as this enables us to move faster towards serving many more people in Europe.”