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Bolt scores R11bn funding to scale up

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E-hailing service Bolt has secured its largest funding to date of €628 million (R11 billion), led by Sequoia and Fidelity Management, which the company will use to accelerate its growth plans.

Bolt, which is Uber’s competition, says this round of funding is the biggest in its history and pushed its valuation to €7.4 billion.

In a statement, the e-hailing company says the new funds will help it build a “future in which cities need fewer parking spaces, have less congestion and lower emissions”.

Markus Villig, Bolt founder and CEO, comments: “For decades, cities have been built for private cars, rather than the people living and working in them. At Bolt, we think this approach is outdated, which is why our mission is to create cities for people, not cars.

“We’ve developed products that offer better and more affordable alternatives for almost every purpose a private car serves. We’re committed to working with cities to help people make the switch towards shared mobility options, like ride-hailing and light vehicles, to transform urban areas into sustainable, people-friendly spaces.”

Bolt says it will also use these funds to expand and further improve its full suite of mobility and delivery products, which are used by more than 100 million customers in 45 countries and over 400 cities across Europe and Africa.

“One example is Bolt Market, one of our newest products, developed and launched during the pandemic and already operating dozens of stores in 10 countries across Europe. This new investment will help us accelerate its expansion rapidly in 2022, as we plan to have hundreds of stores operational by the end of the year,” says the firm.

The investment comes as Bolt is growing in SA and the rest of Africa, and piloting new solutions in response to market demand. The company has been eyeing Africa and Europe expansion opportunities for some time.

Africa is Bolt’s biggest market, with over half of its business worldwide coming from the seven African markets of SA, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Tunisia and Uganda.

Recently, Bolt launched its Women Only service in SA, which enables women passengers to request rides from female drivers only.

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