Uber rival Bolt raises €150 million to improve safety of its platform with facial recognition for its driver and prevent accidents using AI
We’ve covered Bolt for at least three years now. Just last month, the Estonian ride-hailing startup announced over €100 million investment in the European e-scooter market. The 7-year old startup said it would invest over 100 million euros ($118 million) in 2021 to become the largest e-scooter rental firm in Europe as it aims to bring 130,000 scooters to more than 100 cities next year, expanding aggressively across the continent.
Today, the European Uber rival announced it has just closed a €150m (over $180 million) round of funding to enhance the safety of its platform with facial recognition for drivers and the use of machine learning to prevent potential incidents. The round was led by D1 Capital Partners, the hedge fund run by American billionaire Daniel Sundheim. Darsana Capital Partners, another hedge fund, also invested.
Founded in 2013 by Markus Villig, Martin Villig, and Oliver Leisalu, the Tallinn, Harjumaa, Estonia-based startup’s services range from ride-hailing to micro-mobility and food delivery. In March 2019, Taxify rebranded as Bolt to expand its transport options beyond private cars.
2020 has been a rough year for taxi apps, but Bolt founder and CEO Markus Villig said the company has been able to ride out the coronavirus crisis with newer product lines such as scooters and food delivery. “Despite the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bolt has seen immense growth in the past year. We have almost doubled our number of customers and launched our services from ride-hailing to micromobility and food delivery in 50 new cities,” Villig wrote in a blog post.
Villig added: “Millions of customers already love Bolt for our affordable prices and fast service. In 2021, we are doubling down to be the industry leader in safety and quality of the platform. We’re planning to launch even more innovative solutions like driver face verification and automatic trip monitoring, using machine learning to prevent potential incidents and ensure the highest quality service for our customers.”
In 2020 alone, Bolt has already expanded our scooter operations to 45 cities in over 15 countries, including Sweden, Norway, and Portugal. And with 130,000 e-scooters and e-bikes on the streets in 2021, Bolt will officially become the largest micro-mobility provider in Europe.