Bolt raises $ 709M at $ 8.4B to expand its premium transportation and food delivery app - TechCrunch
Economies of scale are the cornerstone of on-demand companies, and to that end one of the local optimists has embarked on a major journey to grow its business. Bolt - the starter and app of the same name that works on on-demand tour, shared cars and scooters; and restaurant and grocery delivery - raised € 628 million ($ 709 million at current levels), valued at € 7.4 billion ($ 8.4 billion). It uses the money to continue to expand into new areas and to bring more customers and partners to their “super app”; and newer business lines, such as their 15-minute grocery delivery option Bolt Market, will be building “dark stores” in more cities to expand the service beyond the 10 where it is active. -today.
"All of our business units are growing," said founder and CEO Markus Villig in an interview this week. Villig said that even its most mature business, hailing cycling, is "seeing double - digit growth," while the latest industries, by being smaller, are expanding even faster. “Last year's new move is that private cars are a bad thing and more and more people want to use other modes of transport. He said Bolt is working in partnership with more city governments to build their services as part of their updated transport strategies.
Sequoia Capital, Fidelity Management and Research Company LLC co-led the tour, with Whale Rock, Owl Rock (a division of Blue Owl), D1, G Squared, Tekne, Ghisallo and other unnamed sponsors also taking part.
The funding news concludes some exciting months for the company, which had raised € 600 million at a value of more than € 4 billion just four months earlier in Sequoia - led Series E. Bolt now has over 100 million customers in 45 countries and 400+ cities using its services. As a measure of its growth, in August, when the company announced the previous tour, it had 75 million customers.
Bolt's growth is also notable for the difficulties that some of its competitors have had as a result of COVID: Pandemics initially had a devastating effect on people's willingness to get into a vehicle where they need to. sitting in an enclosed space. by another person (the driver). That situation was exacerbated by the resurgence of things, but as soon as many services suffer from a shortage of drivers, not passengers.
Villig acknowledged that Bolt was also opposed to some "short-term fluctuations" when the locks were first introduced. But it has placed a strong focus on attracting and retaining drivers by paying better commissions than its competitors (typically, Villig said, it pays between 10% and 20% better than competitors).
"There is a severe shortage of supply on these platforms, so we have focused on taking the lowest partner-friendly commission," he said. Well done to Bolt, who has now seen more than double monthly revenue compared to pre - COVID sales, Villig said.
Bolt was founded eight years ago in Tallinn, Estonia (originally Taxify), with the mission of bringing riders to emerging markets and countries where others like Uber were not yet on a strong footing. strategy, which used to be broadly extended across sectors. as Central and Eastern Europe and Africa, in the process of attracting investors like Didi in China - he himself has built a large business in his own emerging home market. (Didi took away his share in Bolt last year.)
Over time, the focus has remained on Europe and Africa, but Bolt has discovered that much of the learning from that first publication could be applied just as easily in more developed countries, with pay-per-view. more beneficial.
“We started in Eastern Europe and Africa because there was a greater need for these markets. They had lower car ownership, higher unemployment [making for a market with many freelance drivers]; it was sensible, "said Villig." But now we have learned that this model works everywhere, and in fact it is easier to grow in western Europe because markets are Find out if you can make this model work in very cheap, frugal markets, then once you go to London or Stockholm, it's much easier. The unit economy will certainly be better off as prices are higher. ” However, it is not a perfect system, but working in developed markets, he said, trade is "more regulated," and the limits that come with it.
At the same time, Bolt's diversification approach, moving beyond cars to scooters and couriers, and now also food delivery services, is also part of its scaling strategy. By offering multiple services within one app not only does Bolt help bring in new customers and sell over them, but it does so with marketing costs largely by putting all options and cross - promotion in one app, Villig said.
"Cooperation and shared costs between these direct levels are two elements that separate us and turn in our favor," he said. Most of Bolt's competitors generally aim for one thing in each app, Villig continued, "and we don't," so it's easier and cheaper for Bolt to build more services where behind each other. “Now we are passing on these savings to customers. ”
"We are excited to deepen our partnership with Markus and Bolt to further their mission of making urban travel accessible, sustainable and safe," Andrew Reed, a partner at Sequoia, said in a statement to TechCrunch At Sequoia, we believe in the global potential of technology and innovation and are inspired by Bolt 's growth from Tallinn, Estonia to over 400 cities and 100 million customers across Europe and Africa. We want to help them expand their footprint, increase their product offering and improve the long-term quality of city life. ”