Bolt raises €600m in round led by Sequoia Capital

3 Aug 2021

Image: Bolt

This round brings Bolt’s total valuation to more than €4bn as the Estonian mobility company says it plans to push into the grocery delivery market.

Estonian ride-hailing start-up Bolt has raised €600m in a Series E funding round led by Sequoia Capital.

Other new investors that participated in the round included Tekne and Ghisallo, while G Squared, D1 Capital and Naya all returned to increase their investments. A post-money valuation of the company came to more than €4bn.

Bolt said the influx of funding will mainly be put towards its new grocery delivery service Bolt Market, as well as the expansion of its existing products.

As well as taxi-hailing and grocery delivery, the Tallinn-headquartered company also operates e-scooter and e-bike rental schemes, a car-sharing service and food delivery. Bolt was founded in 2013 by Markus Villig, and was previously known as mTakso and Taxify.

The company launched Bolt Drive, its car-sharing service along the lines of GoCar and Zipcar, in May. It is in the process of rolling out Bolt Market and said the new service will be available in countries in the Baltics and central Europe as well as Sweden, Portugal, Croatia and Romania in the next few months.

The on-demand grocery delivery platform will make use of Bolt’s “existing technology and courier network from Bolt Food, as well as its experience in food delivery operations,” according to the company.

“Bolt’s mission is to make urban travel affordable and sustainable,” Villig commented. “We are building a future where people are not forced to buy cars that cause traffic and pollution, but use on-demand transport when they actually need it. After seven years of relentless execution, Bolt’s mobility and delivery products offer a better alternative to almost every use case a car serves.

“I’m thrilled to bring these products to millions of customers around Europe and Africa, taking the emphasis off cars and giving cities back to the people.”

Andrew Reed, a partner at Sequoia Capital, said that Bolt is “redefining urban transportation” in much of the world.

“Markus is a driven founder who has built an operationally excellent business spanning Europe and Africa and a mission-driven culture that forms the foundation of an enduring company,” Reed added. “Bolt helps customers, cities and the environment. We’re delighted to partner with them.”

Alexander Selegenev, director of previous investor TMT, also commented: “TMT first invested in Bolt in September 2014 when it only had operations in a few cities. Today Bolt is active in over 300 cities globally and we are therefore delighted to see that Sequoia Capital, one of the world’s leading and largest venture capital investors, has followed in TMT’s footsteps with the leading of this very significant equity fundraise of €600m.”

Bolt launched in Ireland in December 2020, competing with existing taxi-hailing apps FreeNow and Uber. In March, the company announced its intention to bring 10,000 e-scooters to the Irish market when legislation allows.

Jack Kennedy is a freelance journalist based in Dublin