Bolt, a ride-hailing and e-scooter firm, has secured a €20 million (R364 million) war chest of funds to expand in Eastern European and African markets. The funds were secured from the World Bank’s IFC.
Bolt launched South Africa – its first African market – in 2016 and now operates in over 34 towns and cities across all nine provinces, connecting more than 25,000 drivers with passengers.
Since its launch in South Africa, the company currently operates in seven African countries, providing earning opportunities for more than 400,000 drivers in over 70 cities across the continent.
IFC’s funding will be targeted towards Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, and African markets, such as Nigeria and South Africa.
“Half of Bolt’s business is in Africa, and this investment will make it possible for us to stimulate entrepreneurship and enable progress for drivers and passengers by transforming transportation on the continent,” Gareth Taylor, Regional Manager for Bolt in Southern Africa, said.
Bolt is currently piloting a ‘Women Only’ ride-hailing category in South Africa – a new service aiming to address safety needs and improve women’s mobility by connecting female drivers with female passengers. IFC will support Bolt’s ongoing work to empower women riders and drivers by improving their access to safe and affordable transportation and creating new economic opportunities.
“We are looking forward to partnering with IFC to further support entrepreneurship, empower women and increase access to affordable mobility services in Africa and Eastern Europe,” Markus Villig, Bolt’s CEO and Founder said.
“Together with the investment from the European Investment Bank last year, we are proud to have sizeable and strategically important institutions backing us and recognising the strategic value Bolt is providing to emerging economies”.
Bolt has more than 50 million users in over 40 countries across Europe and Africa. Its services range from ride-hailing to micro-mobility with e-scooters and electric bikes to food and parcel delivery.
All Bolt rides in Europe are 100% carbon-neutral as part of Bolt’s Green Plan, a long-term commitment to reduce the ecological footprint of the company.