July 19, 2024
Uber rival Bolt secures €220M in prep for IPO

Estonian mobility startup Bolt has secured a €220mn credit facility as it plans to go public next year.  

This type of financing is a more flexible loan option, which allows a business to withdraw and repay funds as needed, on an ongoing basis. Kind of like a credit card for companies. 

The credit facility provides Bolt “with additional flexibility as we work towards being IPO-ready,” CEO and founder Markus Villig said in a statement.

Lenders include Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan. The money supplements Bolt’s “strong cash position” and “strengthens its liquidity profile,” the company said.

Alongside its ride-hailing service, Bolt offers food delivery, car rental, as well as  dockless e-scooter and ebike sharing. Last year, the startup started delivering groceries using autonomous robots in its hometown of Tallinn.

Villig launched Bolt in 2013 with just €3,000 in his pocket and only a few dozen drivers using the ride-hailing app. The company is now worth upwards of €7bn. It claims to have signed up over 3 million drivers and counts 150 million customers across 45 countries. 

Part of Bolt’s success is that its fares are generally cheaper than those of rival Uber. Nevertheless, the US giant accounts for 25% of all ride-hailing and taxi rides worldwide. Bolt’s share is estimated at about 5%.  

An IPO could give Bolt the cash injection it needs to snatch back some customers from the competition. However, if Uber’s dreadful IPO in 2019 is anything to go by, Bolt may have a hard time convincing investors that ride-hailing and food delivery are still the hot commodities they used to be.

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