World Bank-backed Uber rival Bolt drives in €600M to build ‘Super App’ in the UK

London’s second biggest ride-hailing operator, Bolt has raised €600 million in fresh funding as it aims to push into the rapidly-growing online grocery delivery industry. The new funding pushes its valuation to over €4 billion, more than double its last private valuation.

Investors galore

Venture capital firm Sequoia and new investors including fund managers Tekne and Ghisallo backed the financing while existing investors G Squared, D1 Capital and Naya also increased their holdings. The funding will be used to facilitate the expansion of all of its diversified services in Europe as well as a number of African markets where Bolt has a presence.

Rise of super app

Bolt, formerly known as Taxify, started out as a taxi-hailing app in Estonia. In a bid to become a super app, the Uber rival has now diversified into new services like food delivery, electric scooter and bike rentals. Bringing the popular model of super apps from Asia into Europe, the company recently entered the rapidly growing 15-minute grocery delivery business with Bolt Market.

“Bolt’s mission is to make urban travel affordable and sustainable,” chief executive Markus Villig said. “We are building a future where people are not forced to buy cars that cause traffic and pollution but use on-demand transport when they actually need it,” he added.

Making inroads in grocery delivery

Competition in all the verticals that the startup operates in is intense. The rapid grocery delivery space has seen several players emerge in the last year, battling for market share in major European cities. Bolt is making a big drive into grocery delivery. The company, which promises to deliver groceries in 15 minutes, plans to roll out the service to 10 European countries over the next few months, including Sweden, Portugal, Croatia and Romania.

Redefining urban transportation

Ride hailing services have witnessed tough times owing to the pandemic. However, the space is recovering now. “Bolt is redefining urban transportation in much of the world,” Sequoia partner Andrew Reed said of the new funding round. “Markus is a driven founder who has built an operationally-excellent business spanning Europe and Africa and a mission-driven culture that forms the foundation of an enduring company. Bolt helps customers, cities and the environment.”

The Estonian headquartered company had earlier announced that London was one of 100 cities to receive some of its 130,000 scooters and electric bikes this year. In the UK, the company has over 50,000 drivers accepted onto its ride-hailing platform and over 2 million passengers signed up across the capital.