Uber-rival Bolt sees Africa as growth market

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STOCKHOLM/LISBOON, Nov 10 (Businesshala) – Bolt, a rival to Uber’s ride-sharing and food delivery business, plans to focus on Europe and Africa for now, chief executive Marcus Willig said. brushing aside the prospect of any potential expansion into the United States, he said in an interview.

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The Estonian startup, which also offers car sharing and electric scooter rental, operates in 300 cities in 45 countries, has more than 75 million customers and is valued at $6 billion.

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“There has been a fundamental shift in how investors and tech companies see the world,” said Willig, the 27-year-old co-founder of Bolt. “It’s pretty clear that you can build a huge company, with a valuation of hundreds of billions, without ever moving to America”

Bolt’s lesser focus than Uber, which is present in 70 countries, is similar to that of ride-hailing firm Lyft (LYFT.O), which is only present in Canada and the United States.

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Africa has been one of its main targets for expansion as a lack of transport infrastructure and a growing population make it an attractive market for car sharing. Its potential has attracted other tech companies as well.

“The growth opportunity for us as a company is much bigger (in Africa) than in a developed country, where everyone has access to cars and public transport,” Willig said.

Bolt may be exploring partnerships in the future that could allow users to order using the Bolt app in countries where it does not operate, Willig said, without providing further details.

While Uber is the biggest rival for ride-hailing, in food delivery, the Bolt faces competitors including Just Eat, Takeaway.com (TKWY.AS) and DoorDash (DASH.N) on Tuesday announced Volt’s $8 Entered Europe through the purchase of Billion.

Bolt, which joined food delivery in 2019, said it plans to add a larger selection of restaurants and invest more to make its service more affordable.

Bolt is fully sustainable in some countries and can reinvest those cash flows into expansion, Willig said. “But this is a capital intensive sector, so chances are we will be raising more money in the future.”

Bolt raised 600 million euros ($693.84 million) in August from investors such as Sequoia and G Square.

($1 = 0.8648 Euro)

Reporting by Katrina Demani in Lisbon and Supantha Mukherjee in Stockholm; Editing by Barbara Lewis

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