Bolt (company)

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FormerlymTakso, Taxify
IndustryTransportation network company
FoundedAugust 2013; 7 years ago (2013-08)
FounderMarkus Villig
HeadquartersTallinn, Estonia
Area served
40 countries in Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia and Latin America
ProductsMobile app
ServicesTransportation network company, Scooter-sharing system, Food delivery
RevenueIncrease €150 million (2019)[1]

Bolt offers vehicle for hire, micromobility, and food delivery services. Bolt is headquartered in Tallinn, Estonia and operates in over 200 cities in 40 countries[2] in Europe, Africa, Western Asia and Latin America. The company has 50 million customers globally[3] and more than 1 million drivers use Bolt platform to offer rides.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10]


Bolt (then called Taxify) was founded by Markus Villig (then only 19 years old, a high-school student) in 2013, with a vision to aggregate all Tallinn and Riga taxis into one platform. With €5,000 from his parents, who also helped him by doing customer support outside of their regular working hours, he hired a developer to help him launch the business, then called mTakso.[11] The service was launched in August 2013 and in 2014 it went on to foreign shores.[12]

Caen Contee, Co-founder, Lime, left, and Markus Villig, Co-founder & CEO, Bolt, Web Summit 2018 at the Altice Arena in Lisbon, Portugal.

In 2017, Taxify launched its services in London by acquiring a local taxi company with a licence to operate, but was forced by Transport for London to shut down its services.[13][14] The company has filed a new licence application with plans to reopen services in London.[15]

Taxify logo (former)
Bolt electric scooter

Following the setback in London, Taxify launched its services in Paris and Lisbon.[16][17]

In September 2018, the company announced expanding into dockless electric scooters and launched them in Paris under the new Bolt brand.[18] The company also said it planned to release scooters in several other European and Australian cities where the app was already established, but would also launch in new markets where vehicle for hire services face significant regulatory roadblocks, including Germany and Spain.[19]

In June 2019, Bolt re-launched in London with 20,000 drivers registered on the platform.[20]

In August 2019, the company rolled out its food delivery service, Bolt Food. Bolt Food launched in Tallinn, with the plans to expand to more cities in Europe and Africa later this year.[21]

In September 2019, Bolt announced its "Green Plan", an initiative to reduce the ecological footprint of the transportation industry and Bolt as a company. The Green Plan goals include offsetting Bolt's contribution to the CO₂ emissions of the European transportation sector by at least 5 million tonnes by 2025 and adding more green ride-types for passengers to choose from.[22]

In March 2019 and 2020, Bolt was ranked third in the FT 1000: Europe's Fastest Growing Companies published by the Financial Times.[23][24]


Prior to announcing a strategic partnership with Didi Chuxing, Taxify had raised over €2 million in investment capital from Estonian and Finnish angel investors.[25] In August 2017, Didi Chuxing invested an undisclosed amount believed to be an "eight-figure U.S. dollar sum".[26] A May 2018 funding round with a $175 million investment from Daimler, Didi and others led to a 1 billion dollar valuation for the company, making it a unicorn.[27]

In January 2020, the European Investment Bank (EIB) signed a EUR 50 million venture debt facility with Bolt. The financing, supported by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), is to boost Bolt's product development in areas where technology can improve the safety, reliability and sustainability of its services. This includes investment in existing services such as vehicle for hire and food delivery, as well as the development of new products.[28]

In December 2020, Bolt raised €150 million from venture capital funds.[2][3] Although the valuation of the company was not publicly disclosed after this fundraising, some industry experts estimate it could be around €3.5 billion.[29]


  • Became the first transportation app in the world to allow customers to pay for their trips via mobile carrier billing.[30]
  • Became the #2 travel app in South Africa, and #1 travel app in Kenya and Nigeria in 2017.[31]
  • Became larger than Uber in Africa in 2018.[32][33]
  • Reached 10 million customers in May 2018.[34]
  • Expanded into electric scooters in September 2018[18] and became the first platform integrating scooters with vehicle for hire services in one mobile app.[35]
  • Rebranded to Bolt and reached 25 million passengers in February 2019.[4]
  • Launched in London in June 2019.[20]
  • Launched in Tunis in July 2019.[citation needed]
  • Launched Bolt Food in August 2019.[21]


Availability of Bolt, as of October 2020:
  Not available

Bolt operates their app, which enables people to hail rides from their smartphones. The application is available for Android, iOS, Windows Phone and AppGallery for Huawei phones. Riders must choose a payment method: cash, credit card or mobile carrier billing before they can use the service.[36] The customer requests a ride and confirms their pick-up location. Once the driver accepts the trip, the customer will be able to see the driver's name and car details. After the ride is completed both driver and the rider can rate each other.[37][38]


Bolt has stressed the importance of customer safety. All drivers undergo a criminal background check and in-person training. Drivers are also required to be at least 21 years old and have had a driver's license for at least 3 years. Bolt has a zero-tolerance policy against alcohol and drug use.[39] In Nigeria, Bolt has included an SOS button for drivers that sends real time emergency alerts to the Lagos State Emergency Response Agency.[40] In London, an in-app SOS button links riders and drivers with the emergency services.[41]

Bolt in South Africa does not have a contact center.[citation needed] If you have any issues you will have to send an email and wait.[citation needed] Often the safety concerns have not been addressed and Bolt in the country is avoiding consumer protection watchdogs like HelloPeter.[citation needed] Most users end up not perusing any grievance against Bolt due to the countries weak legal system when it comes to consumer complaints.[citation needed] The drivers that work for Bolt also have their own issues with the company related to safety and remuneration. Earlier this year they staged a demonstration by blocking bolt offices.[42] There has been repeated calls in the country to regulate the ride sharing services and address the concerns of both drivers and customers.[citation needed]

Environmental sustainability[edit]

Bolt is alleging that the company is heading towards a more environmentally sustainable model. According to EuroNews, since September 2019, Bolt rides in Europe are 100% carbon-neutral.[43]


  1. ^ "Bolt's annual losses rise to €85 million". Eesti Rahvusringhääling. Retrieved 2020-11-04.
  2. ^ a b Busvine, Douglas (2020-12-16). "Estonian mobility startup Bolt raises 150 mln euros from investors". Reuters. Retrieved 2020-12-18.
  3. ^ a b Browne, Ryan (2020-12-16). "European Uber rival Bolt raises more than $180 million for A.I. drive". CNBC. Retrieved 2020-12-18.
  4. ^ a b "Taxify rebrands as Bolt to expand its transport options beyond private cars". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2019-03-07.
  5. ^ "New Ride-Hailing App Taxify to Launch in Egypt and Compete with Uber, Careem, and Ousta". Cairo Scene. Archived from the original on 2017-03-30. Retrieved 2017-03-30.
  6. ^ ERR (2017-04-12). "Estonian taxi-hailing app Taxify expands to Baku, Malta". ERR. Retrieved 2017-05-04.
  7. ^ ERR (2017-10-05). "Estonia's Taxify expands ride-hailing platform to Paris". ERR. Retrieved 2017-11-23.
  8. ^ Taxify (2018-04-27). "Taxify Hits 10M Users Globally". Taxify. Retrieved 2018-05-19.
  9. ^ Almeida, Goncalo. "Taxify aims for 10-fold Africa growth, to overtake Uber in Europe". U.S. Retrieved 2018-11-30.
  10. ^ "Press corner". European Commission – European Commission. Retrieved 2020-02-28.
  11. ^ Bernal, Natasha (2020-02-24). "How Bolt bounced back from a spectacular public London failure". Wired UK. ISSN 1357-0978. Retrieved 2020-03-11.
  12. ^ Treija, Ieva. "Taxi startup forces countries to change Transport Law by offering new business model | EU-Startups". Retrieved 2017-03-30.
  13. ^ "Taxify launches in London, acquiring a cab firm to scale and discounting prices – TechCrunch". Retrieved 2018-05-19.
  14. ^ "Uber-Rival Taxify Suspended in London Amid License Investigation". 2017-09-08. Retrieved 2018-05-19.
  15. ^ Titcomb, James (2018-02-24). "Uber rival Taxify plots London comeback". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2018-05-19.
  16. ^ Auchard, Eric. "After London setback, Taxify trails Uber into Paris market". U.S. Retrieved 2018-05-19.
  17. ^ Barber, Lynsey (2018-01-11). "Uber rival Taxify launches in Lisbon as London wait continues". Archived from the original on 2018-07-05. Retrieved 2018-05-19.
  18. ^ a b "The scooter war explodes in Europe as Taxify brings dockless scooters to Paris". Business Insider. Retrieved 2018-09-10.
  19. ^ "Taxify is entering the e-scooter game". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2018-09-10.
  20. ^ a b Schulze, Elizabeth (2019-06-11). "Uber's European rival Bolt launches in London". CNBC. Retrieved 2019-06-13.
  21. ^ a b Schulze, Elizabeth (2019-08-21). "Uber rival Bolt launches food delivery service in Europe". CNBC. Retrieved 2019-08-29.
  22. ^ "Bolt launches environmental impact fund in UK".
  23. ^ "The FT 1000: third annual list of Europe's fastest-growing companies | Financial Times". 2019-03-31. Retrieved 2020-12-18.
  24. ^ "FT 1000: the fourth annual list of Europe's fastest-growing companies". 2020-03-02. Retrieved 2020-03-23.
  25. ^ "The Estonian taxibooking app Taxify raises $100K". Estonian World. 2014-04-28. Retrieved 2018-05-19.
  26. ^ Russell, Jon. "China's Didi invests in Taxify, an Uber rival operating in Europe and Africa". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2017-11-23.
  27. ^ Nair, Dinesh. "Uber's European Rival Taxify Wins Unicorn Status Raising Funds". MSN Money. Archived from the original on 2018-07-12. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
  28. ^ "European Investment Bank backs Uber rival Bolt with €50m".
  29. ^ "Bolt raises $182M to expand its on-demand transportation network in Europe and Africa". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2020-12-18.
  30. ^ "Taxify vs. Uber – TheSpark". TheSpark. 2017-03-07. Retrieved 2017-03-30.
  31. ^ "Taxify steadily gaining ground in Africa as Uber falls victim of its pricing – TechMoran". Retrieved 2017-03-30.
  32. ^ "Taxify Beats Uber In Africa |". Retrieved 2018-09-25.
  33. ^ Wexler, Alexandra; Echwalu, Edward (2018-09-16). "Taxify Rides Motorbikes to Lead Over Uber in Africa". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2018-09-25.
  34. ^ "Taxify global user numbers hit 10 mln". The Baltic Course. Retrieved 2018-05-19.
  35. ^ Ram, Aliya; Bradshaw, Tim (2018-09-06). "Ride-hailing app Taxify to launch electric scooters in Paris". Financial Times. Retrieved 2018-10-03.
  36. ^ "Estonian Taxify first in the world to launch mobile billing for cabs – ArcticStartup". ArcticStartup. Retrieved 2017-03-30.
  37. ^ "We used Taxify in Lagos and this is how it went | TechCabal". Retrieved 2017-03-30.
  38. ^ Taxify startet nächste Woche in Wien, futurzone, 2017-10-13.
  39. ^ "Ride hailing services: how safe are you? | IOL". Retrieved 2017-03-30.
  40. ^ "Taxify introduces SOS button for real time alerts to Lagos State Emergency Response Agency". BusinessDay : News you can trust. 2018-04-19. Archived from the original on 2018-05-19. Retrieved 2018-05-19.
  41. ^ Katwala, Amit (2019-06-12). "Uber's new London rival has one huge advantage: it's much cheaper". Wired UK. ISSN 1357-0978. Retrieved 2019-06-13.
  43. ^ Graham, Rachel. "One of Europe's Biggest Taxi Apps Has Gone Carbon Neutral". Euronews.

External links[edit]

  • Bolt – Official Website