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Bolt announces post-pandemic growth to mark ninth anniversary

Bolt, the first European super-app, has announced it has quadrupled its business since the start of the pandemic, recording its most successful month on record this July.

Bolt, which launched two new products since the start of the pandemic, has operations in 45 countries and over 500 cities across Europe and Africa now – an increase of over 200% in the period prior to the pandemic. 

Globally, Bolt has tripled its number of customers to over 100 million since the beginning of 2020, added more than 2 million new drivers to the platform, and more than doubled the size of its workforce to over 3000 employees. The business has also opened several new offices over the past year, including an engineering hub in Berlin and a regional hub in Nairobi, and continues to advertise over 350 open roles with a view to hiring 700 more employees by the end of the year.

The announcement of these new stats comes as Bolt marks its ninth anniversary since Markus Villig founded the company in Tallinn, Estonia, in 2013. Then just a teenager, Markus personally recruited the first drivers to the platform on the streets of Tallinn and has since built a business valued at €7.6bn at the time of its latest funding round.

Markus Villig, CEO and Founder, said: “The pandemic was the biggest economic shock in generations, so hitting milestones like 100 million customers and operations in over 500 cities are achievements we’re really proud of. 

“When Bolt was first founded, our mission was to challenge the traditional taxi industry in Tallinn through a new ride-hailing service. Now our size and the range of products we offer put us in a unique position to revolutionise how people move around the cities. By providing an alternative to private cars, we can help create cities that are greener, safer and more pleasant to live in.

“It’s important to stay grounded though – rising levels of inflation and interest rates mean we have to be disciplined when assessing how and in what markets we invest. This could mean prioritising growth efforts in our existing markets instead of expanding our services into new countries. Our culture of frugality helped us come out of the pandemic in a strong position, but the challenges are not going to stop and the team is focused on preparing for and responding to them.”

Bolt was launched in Kenya in 2017. Since then, it has grown exponentially, covering over 0.9 billion kms, and serving over 4 million customers across cities and urban centres in Kenya. Currently, Bolt operates in multiple areas including; Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Kakamega, Nakuru, Naivasha, Eldoret, Kitale, Nyeri, Meru, and Nanyuki. Bolt also launched its food delivery service in Nairobi in March 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic which was characterised by lockdowns, curfews and takeaway options for most restaurants. Bolt Food’s entry into the market gave customers access to a wide array of restaurants and menus at the tap of a button, as well as expanded the customer pool of various restaurants. Bolt Food currently has a growing network of over 80 estates within Nairobi and its metropolis, and over 1,250 top restaurants where customers can conveniently order their favourite food via the app. 

“We began operations in Kenya five years ago, with a mission to move cities in Kenya in a safe, affordable and sustainable manner. Since then we’ve expanded urban mobility options beyond regular cars to include motorbikes, tuk-tuks, e-bikes, and fully electric vehicles. We have also diversified operations to include food delivery services to offer more convenience to our customers. We continue to witness tremendous growth, and increased demand for mobility services. It has been an exciting journey and we want to thank all our drivers, couriers, restaurant partners and customers for their extraordinary support over the past five years.” Said Kenneth Micah, Bolt’s Regional Manager, Eastern Africa.

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