Uber rival Bolt to invest around £100M in micromobility to expand across 100 cities in Europe


Shared e-scooters have grown to become a very familiar sight in European cities and the US, thanks to the ongoing pandemic.

Commuters travelling from public transport are now preferably switching to safe personal transport like e-scooters, e-bikes. Consequently, Estonian ride-hailing unicorn Bolt, which also offers shared e-scooters in several cities across Europe is all set to make use of this opportunity in disguise.

The news is just in that the on-demand transportation platform is on the path to becoming the largest micromobility operator in Europe within the next 12 months, with a €100 million investment strategy in e-scooters and bikes.

Bolt e-scooters in 100+ cities

As per the company blog, Bolt will bring e-scooters to more than 100 cities across the continent in 2021. An expanded fleet of electric scooters will service these cities, most of which will be a sustainable, modular, custom-made model, all designed, sourced, built and deployed by Bolt.

In 2020, Bolt has already expanded their e-scooter operations to 45 cities in 15 countries, including Sweden, Norway, and Portugal. And with 130,000 e-scooters and e-bikes on the streets in 2021, Bolt claims to become the largest micromobility provider in Europe officially.

“Our cities are suffering from traffic, emissions and lack of public space caused by parking. We believe that the future of urban transport is a network of on-demand services — ride-hailing, electric scooters, bikes and other light vehicles. The days where every person needs to buy a car are over. We’ve seen that one of the biggest bottlenecks in the transition to shared electric mobility is pricing, which is why we’re excited to bring affordable scooters and electric bikes to even more countries across Europe next season, including Germany and the UK. Bolt is the largest European ride-hailing network, which enables us to offer the best prices to customers thanks to shared costs between the businesses,” said Markus Villig, CEO and co-founder, Bolt.

In May, Bolt raised around £100 million from investment firm Naya Capital Management in a deal valuing the company at £1.7 billion.

What about UK plans?

The company has mentioned in their blog, “Although Bolt e-scooters aren’t available in the UK just yet, we’re laying the groundwork to have them ready.” The e-scooter firm has already got a green light for city trials, earlier this year.

Bolt, founded in 2013, has over 30 million users in 35 countries. It has managed to grab a significant market share from Uber, mostly in major African cities and Eastern Europe.

Earlier this week Berlin-based TIER, another European micro-mobility brand announced the completion of a $250 million (£188.5 million approx.) Series C funding round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2i.

In a report by Forbes, Villig says, “What happened during Covid was that when Uber was letting go 7,000 employees, we actually have still to this day let go zero,” he said. “We haven’t had to lay off a single person because of Covid, even though we had an 80% drop in business for a couple of weeks.”

In September 2020, Bolt announced its commitment to become climate positive (carbon negative) in its electric scooter operations by the end of 2020. Further, the European unicorn will support projects that remove more carbon from the atmosphere than the manufacturing and maintenance of Bolt’s e-scooters produces.