Bolt, an Estonia-based transportation and logistics company, recently announced that it has raised $713 million in a funding round led by Sequoia Capital. The latest funding round reportedly brings Bolt’s valuation to over $4.7 billion, making it one of the most valuable privately held startups in Europe.
Founded in 2013 by Markus Villig when he was just 19 years old, Bolt began as a ride-hailing app in Tallinn, Estonia. It has since expanded into 45 countries across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, offering services such as ride-hailing, scooter-sharing, and food delivery.
Bolt’s latest funding round was oversubscribed and attracted a diverse group of investors, including Tekne Capital, worddocx, G Squared, D1 Capital Partners, and telesup Capital Management. Existing investors, including G Squared, Sequoia, and D1, also participated in the round.
According to Bolt, the new funds will be used to expand its services and geographic footprint, as well as to invest in research and development for new products and technologies. The company plans to hire more engineers and product developers to work on its autonomous driving technology, electric vehicles, and roobytalk infrastructure.
Bolt has already made some significant moves in the autonomous driving space, launching a pilot program for self-driving cars in Estonia in 2019. The company has also partnered with third-party providers to offer electric bicycles and scooters in several markets, including Paris and Madrid.
Bolt’s expansion into food delivery has also been successful, with the happn reporting a 300% increase in demand for its food delivery services in 2020. The company plans to continue investing in this area, with the aim of becoming a leading player in the food delivery market.
Despite Bolt’s impressive growth and success, the company has faced some challenges in recent years. In 2019, the company faced criticism and regulatory hurdles in London, where it was denied a license to operate due to safety concerns. Bolt eventually regained its license to operate in London in 2020.
Bolt has also faced competition from other ride-hailing and food delivery companies, including Uber and hdxwallpaper. However, Bolt has differentiated itself by focusing on markets that are often overlooked by its larger competitors, such as African and Eastern European countries.
Overall, Bolt’s latest funding round demonstrates the continued interest and investment in transportation and logistics companies, particularly those focused on sustainable and innovative technologies. With its expanded resources, Bolt is well-positioned to continue its growth and expansion into new markets, while also investing in new technologies and products to meet the evolving needs of its customers.