A Bolt car in Riga, Latvia. Picture: REUTERS/INTS KALNINS
A Bolt car in Riga, Latvia. Picture: REUTERS/INTS KALNINS

Ride-hailing company Bolt has closed an investment round of €100m (R1.92bn) to scale its ride-sharing, micro-mobility and food-delivery business in Europe and Africa.

On Tuesday, the company previously known as Taxify, said it received the investment from global investment manager Naya Capital Management.

This brings Bolt’s total funds raised to more than €300m, the company said.

Operating in about 150 cities across Europe and Africa, the Estonia-based company says it is the leading ride-hailing app in Africa. More than half its business worldwide comes from seven African markets: Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda and SA.

Gareth Taylor, SA country manager for Bolt told Business Day that he can’t provide specific details about how much of the investment each country’s operation could receive. However, “SA, as the largest country market in Africa and one of Bolt’s top markets globally, is likely to receive a significant portion of the Naya Capital investment.”

In SA, Bolt operates in 34 towns and cities, with more than 10,000 drivers using the platform to operate their businesses.

Bolt and competitor Uber have an estimated 25%/75% split of the ride-hailing market in SA. Uber, in 2019, said it had reached one-million app users.

Bolt said it has expanded its services to keep drivers on the road locally given the negative effect on ride hailing due to the Covid-19 lockdown. 

It has launched a business delivery service whereby drivers can help essential-services businesses get orders to their customer-  and a food-delivery service in Cape Town as part of this effort.  

In a statement earlier on Tuesday, Taylor said: “Even though the crisis has temporarily changed how we move, the long-term trends that drive on-demand mobility, such as declining personal car ownership or the shift towards greener transportation, continue to grow.” 

Revenue in the ride-hailing segment in SA hit $314m (about R5.5bn) in 2019 according to Statista, with annual growth forecast at 18.4% by 2023, resulting in a market volume of $616m by that year.

Update: May 25 2020 
This article has been updated with comment from Bolt.



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