Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

Digital Inclusion

Bolt raises $24M for emerging markets expansion

Article Image
Ride-hailing platform Bolt has received a €20 million ($23.9 million) investment from the IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, to expand its services in emerging economies in Africa and Eastern Europe.

Bolt said the money and advisory services from the IFC will help the company "expand mobility solutions that create earning opportunities, stimulate small-scale entrepreneurship, and improve access to transportation in Eastern European and African markets."

The IFC funding will be targeted towards growth in countries such as Nigeria and South Africa as well as Eastern European economies such as Ukraine, it said.

"Half of Bolt's business is in Africa, and this investment will make it possible for us to stimulate entrepreneurship and enable progress for drivers and passengers by transforming transportation on the continent," said Gareth Taylor, regional manager for Bolt in Southern Africa.

South Africa was Bolt's first African market; the company launched services there in 2016 and it now has around 25,000 drivers in 34 towns and cities across all nine provinces.

Since the SA launch it has opened up shop in six other African countries, with over 400,000 drivers in more than 70 cities across the continent.

"We are looking forward to partnering with IFC to further support entrepreneurship, empower women and increase access to affordable mobility services in Africa and Eastern Europe," said Bolt CEO and founder Markus Villig.

Last year the company also raised $110 million from UK-based Naya Capital Management to fund its growth and development strategy, with Africa as a big focus area.

Women in the driver's seat

Bolt said the investment will also help its ongoing work to empower women riders and drivers by improving their access to safe and affordable transportation and creating new economic opportunities.

The mobility platform is busy piloting a "Women Only" ride-hailing category in South Africa – a new service aiming to address safety concerns and improve women's mobility by connecting female drivers with female passengers.

"Technology can and should unlock new pathways for sustainable development and women's empowerment. Our investment in Bolt aims to help tap into technology to disrupt the transport sector in a way that is good for the environment, creates more flexible work opportunities for women, and provides safer and more affordable transportation access in emerging markets," said Stephanie von Friedeburg, IFC senior VP of operations.

Related posts:

*Top image source: Bolt.

— Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub

Story

Connecting Africa Podcast: S2 Ep. 4 – Agri-fintech, from kibbutz to Kenya

The Connecting Africa Podcast team speak to Israeli-Kenyan startup Avenews' co-founder and CEO, Shalom Ben-Or, about his fintech super-app that has been built specifically for Africa's agriculture industry.

Story

Hot startup of the month: Cloud-native developer Deimos

This month's hot startup is pan-African cloud technology and professional services company Deimos which is on a mission to be the leading cloud-native technology company in Africa.

More Innovation hub

Flash poll

All polls

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Africa Tech Perspectives

Story

Women in Tech: Spotlight on inclusivity with Digital Council Africa's Juanita Clark

Digital Council Africa founder and CEO, Juanita Clark, talks to Connecting Africa as part of our Women's Month series about her career and what needs to be done to make the tech industry intentionally inclusive.

Story

Women in Tech: Spotlight on legal tech with Life.file's Sinal Govender

Life.file co-founder, Sinal Govender, talks to Connecting Africa as part of our Women's Month series about her career and how we can encourage more young girls to enter the legal tech field.

Story

Digital inclusion as a catalyst for economic empowerment: Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu

Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu talks to Connecting Africa about how digital payment solutions and mobile money are transforming the lives of small business owners, women and marginalized groups in East Africa.

More AfricaCom perspectives

Latest video

More videos

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Guest Perspectives

Story

Omdia View: July 2022

By Omdia Analysts

Kenya and Zambia move towards 5G with new spectrum allocations while Tunisie Telecom plans to shut down its 3G network - that and more in this month's Omdia View.

Story

Omdia View: June 2022

By Omdia Analysts

5G was the major news trend across Africa in June, as Orange became the first operator to launch 5G in Réunion and operators in Senegal accelerated their 5G plans despite spectrum delays.

More Guest Perspectives

Sponsored video

More videos

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up


Sign Up