The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a €50 million venture debt facility with the developer of ride-hailing app Bolt from Estonia.
The goal of the funding is to support Bolt’s product development and research in areas where the use of technology can improve the safety, reliability and sustainability of its services while maintaining the high efficiency of the company’s operations.
This includes investments in existing services like ride-hailing as well as personalised mobility services such as food delivery.
Under the EFSI, the EIB provides funding that can be deployed through a wide range of products to finance, directly or indirectly, new operations, and takes the form of loans, guarantees or equity-type investments. Among these is the quasi-equity facility, also known as revenue participation investment or venture debt, where the financial return of a loan is calculated as a percentage of the investee’s future revenue streams without diluting ownership.
Bolt, which launched in London last June, is now profitable in approximately two-thirds of its global markets.
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The company is Europe’s leading on-demand transportation platform and the fastest growing in Europe and Africa, attracting more than 30 million users across 150 cities since 2013. In London, Bolt’s user base reached 1.5 million customers in six months.
The EIB’s Vice President Alexander Stubb commented: “Bolt is a good example of European excellence in tech and innovation. The Bank is very happy to support the company in improving its services, as well as allowing it to branch out into new service fields.
Paolo Gentiloni, European Commissioner for the Economy, said: “Estonia is as the forefront of digital transformation in Europe. I am proud that Europe, through the Investment Plan, supports Estonian platform Bolt’s research and development strategy to create innovative and safe services that will enhance urban mobility.”
Bolt’s co-founder, Martin Villig, said: “Mobility is one of the areas where Europe will really benefit from a local champion who shares the values of European consumers and regulators.
“Therefore, 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.”