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Bolt: the fastest-growing ride-hailing platform in the world

Estonian private company Bolt, previously known as Taxify, is the leading European transportation platform providing ride-hailing and scooter-sharing services. The company’s mission is to make urban travel easier, quicker, and more reliable.

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Pictures here and below: Bolt

Founded in 2013 by CEO Markus Villig, Bolt is one of the fastest-growing transportation platforms in the world with investors including Daimler, Didi Chuxing, Korelya Capital, and TransferWise co-founder Taavet Hinrikus. According to Tech Crunch, Bolt is valued at nearly $1.9 billion.

How Bolt`s story began

When Bolt founder Markus Villig was 19 years old and still studying at high school, he had the idea of putting the taxi services in Tallinn and Riga onto a single digital platform. There were 30 taxi companies in Tallinn at the time, all operating on old school call-in devices, with an operator, mediating the rides from a central station, Invest Estonia writes

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Markus Villig

The early start was quite promising. Markus did a Google Docs survey in his school to which he received 600 answers, 90% out of which responded that there is an acute need for a new taxi platform. 

He asked his parents for money, which they had set aside for his studies at university. With $6,000 from his parents, who also helped him by doing customer support outside of their regular working hours, he hired a developer to help him launch the business.

It was Oliver Leisalu who built versions of both the driver’s and customer’s app. He’s now one of the co-founders of Bolt, which really took off shortly after he joined. In 2014, Bolt raised the first round of $1.7 million from investors and began to develop and scale very quickly. 

Bolt`s services 

The company offers a vehicle for hire, bicycles, and scooters, business and food delivery services. Bolt is headquartered in Tallinn, and available in 35 countries (in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and North America) and in more than 150 cities. The company has 30 million customers globally and more than 1 million drivers use the Bolt platform. Bolt has an application available for Android, IOS, and Windows.

The taxi service is clear: the client requires a trip and confirms his location. After the driver accepts the trip, the customer will be able to see the driver’s name and car details. At the end of the trip, both the driver and the rider can rate each other.

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In August 2019, the company launched its food delivery service, Bolt Food. Bolt Food allows ordering favorite foods from restaurants, direct to the door. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has launched Bolt Food grocery delivery. The company writes that the average waiting time for a Bolt Food delivery is about 30 minutes.

Also, Bolt has a business delivery service that allows vendors to deliver their products to their customers affordably, all via one easy-to-use web interface. It’s simple to set up and businesses can take advantage of our large network of drivers and couriers within just a few minutes.

Moreover, Bolt is the only European scooter operator that makes its own custom scooters. This means that they have their own teams of designers and equipment that oversee every step of the Bolt scooter’s life cycle.

On December 3, 2020, the company announced the launch of the new Bolt 4 scooter, the safest model the industry has ever seen. The Bolt 4 is the first scooter that uses sensors to detect accidents, falls, sharp braking, and unsafe riding patterns. These sensors can trigger audio and visual warnings for riders as well as auto-notify our operations team of any problems.

Bolt in figures:

  • $354.1 million in total funding
  • 30 million members
  • 35 countries
  • 150 cities
  • 7 years on the market
  •  36 offices

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