Bolt, the European mobility start-up that seeks to disrupt the tranquility of Uber and Cabify

Very soon, the mobility giants Uber and Cabify may have to make room for a third party. His name is Bolt, he comes from Estonia and already boasts of having more than 75 million customers in 45 countries. With these figures, it has already left the 3 million users of the Spanish firm far behind and is dangerously close to the 93 million of the American one.

Founded in 2013 by Markus Villig, this start-up is highly attractive to European investors. Not surprisingly, he has just closed a round of financing for a total of 628 million euros. This amount has contributed to raising the value of the company to €7.4 billion.

Bolt has had a presence in Spain since 2019, when it introduced its electric scooters in Madrid under the Taxify brand. Currently, it also offers shared electric bicycle services in Barcelona. But what most worries Uber and Cabify is its entry into the VTC sector, because it already has drivers in Madrid, Seville and Malaga.

His next target: food shipments

Bolt Products

In July 2021, the capital of Spain became the starting point for this strategy characterized by a policy of affordable prices. However, their rates €0.95 per kilometer They are still far from the 0.86 euros stipulated by Cabify in his web page.

Regarding the price per minute the figures practically equal, with the 0,11 euros of Bolt compared to 0.12 of Cabify. The same happens with the minimum price, where Bolt charges 3.5 euros compared to the 3.37 that we must pay to Cabify for immediate services in Madrid and its metropolitan area.

While the rest of its business lines continue to settle down, Bolt is already preparing the next one: taking positions in the home delivery of food. Also known as ‘delivery’, it is an adventure that has already allowed rivals such as Uber -through Uber Eats- successfully diversify its activities. At the moment, the service only operates in Estonia. In Spain, the company must ensure that it complies with the current ‘Rider Law’ before introducing it.

Markus Villig: the young entrepreneur who has a ‘unicorn’

Bolt CEO Markus Willing

In the business world, ‘unicorns’ are those companies that achieve a valuation of more than 1,000 million dollars before going public. Is the dream of every start-up, one that very few manage to make a reality. And that is what Markus Villig has achieved with Bolt.

This 27-year-old Estonian founded -at the age of 19- the then Taxify in 2013. Concerned about the poor functioning of the taxis in the capital Tallinn, he took the money his parents had set aside for his university studies and used it to create an application that brings new perspectives to the sector.

That app is what today forms the heart of Bolt, a company that has become the battering ram of the European Union against the aggressive expansion of Uber. In fact, in 2020, it obtained a loan from the European Investment Bank worth 50 million euros.

But most of this company’s income comes from a total of six rounds of financing, which have taken place over the last two years. A fury that has collected the financial support from all kinds of investors such as the Daimler automobile group – owner of Mercedes-Benz– or even direct rivals like Didi Chuxing, considered ‘the Chinese Uber’.

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Lenny Li

I started to play with tech since middle school. Smart phones, laptops and gadgets are all about my life. Besides, I am also a big fan of Star War. May the force be with you!

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