Product range from Estonian Ride Hailing Startup Bolts.
London — Competition is getting fiercer Uber In Europe.
Estonian-based ride-haling startup Bolt said Tuesday that it had raised € 628 million ($ 711 million) in a new funding round led by Sequoia Capital and Fidelity.
Backed by some of Whale Rock, Owl Rock, and some of Bolt’s existing investors, the investment rates the eight-year-old company at around $ 4.8 billion to € 7.4 billion, or about $ 8.4 billion. Just 5 months ago..
In an interview, Bolt CEO and co-founder Marcus Billig said, “Cities want to switch from private car ownership to other’shared mobility’options such as ride hailing and other’shared mobility’options such as electric scooters and car sharing. It has become like that. “
Founded in 2013, Bolt has become a fierce competitor to Uber, challenging US ride-hailing giants in key markets such as London and Paris. Since then, it has expanded to several other businesses such as online food and grocery delivery, e-scooters and more.
Investors are beginning to recognize the value of “SuperAppli,” a concept that combines multiple services into a single platform, Villig said. This trend is particularly popular in parts of Asia, but is slowly progressing in Europe and North America. According to Bolt, there are currently 100 million customers in 45 countries in Europe and Africa.
Approximately three years after Uber went public, stocks have created a whirlwind ever since, hitting a record high in 2021 and then falling below their debut price. Asked if Bolt could keep up when seeking an initial public offering, Mr. Villig said the private market was well funded.
“In the long run? Probably yes, we will be public,” he said. But he added, “there is no urgency at this time.”
Villig sees on-demand groceries as its focus for the next few years. This sector is very crowded Getir To gorilla We are trying to keep consumers away from convenience stores and supermarkets by promising ultra-fast delivery.
Last year, Bolt launched its own 15-minute grocery delivery service in Estonia called the Bolt Market. Like competing services, the company relies on so-called dark grocery stores, which only process online orders and do not serve in-store customers. It currently operates in 10 countries and has dozens of dark stores. According to Villig, the company is a major driver in Central and Eastern Europe and plans to open hundreds of new sites this year.
Bolt’s CEO said the company is likely to spend “hundreds of millions of dollars” building a grocery business over the years. He pointed out that the industry operates at a low rate of return and questioned the sustainability of a fast grocery delivery company.
“This is not a software business,” Villig said. “This will be a very competitive operating business. Most of these companies that expect this to be a driving force for big profits will all be very disappointed within a few years.”
Bolt often advertises that its operating model is slimmer and more cost-effective than Uber.society Lost 44.9 million euros in 2020According to the latest financial report, it was down slightly from the loss of € 85.5 million in the previous year. Revenues surged nearly 75% to € 221.4 million.
Uber, who has long been worried about whether it could be a profitable business, First adjusted EBITDA profit (Interest, taxes, depreciation and income before depreciation) Third quarter of 2021.
Bolt’s business was initially hit hard in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, with revenue plummeting by 80% in 2020. The company turned to food delivery and other areas to expand its business as the times became tougher and benefited from the surge in demand for ride hailing. After the blockade. According to Villig, Bolt’s ride-hailing service business more than doubled in 2021.
However, Uber and its competitors are struggling to match their demand with the supply of drivers amid a continuing labor shortage.It is connected to Fares are high and waiting times are unusually long In big cities like London and New York.
“Everyone is fighting for the driver,” Willig told CNBC. “We have always been positioned as the most driver-friendly platform in terms of revenue and treatment.”
In November, Uber said it London hiking prices To attract more drivers, Bolt allowed drivers to set their own fares in three cities in the UK.
Still, Bolt faces many of the regulatory risks Uber has encountered over the years. Breakthrough British Court Decision Last year, Uber drivers should be treated as workers Future European regulations This can overturn the business model of the gig economy platform.
Villig said most Bolt drivers like the flexibility of gigging and don’t want to be treated like an employee. This is a designation that offers important benefits such as minimum wage and holiday salary.
“We believe that common sense will spread in the long run,” says Villig. “I don’t think it makes sense to force them all into a model they don’t really want frankly.” Most countries allow both full-time and flexible working hours, a “flexible system.” He added that he is likely to find.
European Uber rival Bolt is worth $ 8.4 billion in a new funding round
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