Bolt opens Africa head office in Kenya following $716m funding

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Bolt has opened its Africa Head Office in Nairobi, Kenya, months after receiving funding amounting to US$716 million for expansion.

In a statement, Bolt said the new location would assist them in leveraging Nairobi’s strategic position to serve as a regional hub for its operations in Africa.

The on-demand mobility platform opened the office in Riverside Drive, Nairobi. The office will act as the regional nerve centre of the company, whose operations in Africa cuts through seven countries.

Apart from Kenya, Bolt also has a presence in Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, and Tunisia.

Uber Rival Bolt raises $713mn in fresh funding

The mobility company said the move forms part of its continued growth and investment strategy in the region as it seeks to deepen its presence in Africa in a unified approach.

It will also provide an opportunity for Bolt to make its operations more integrated and cohesive across the region.

Commenting on the office’s opening, Bolt Regional Director and Interim VP for Rides, Paddy Partridge, noted that the investment is significant in strengthening their presence in Africa as a region considering the country’s strategic location and infrastructural infrastructure advancement.

“This investment is strategic for us, as it will enable us to run and coordinate operations seamlessly across Africa in an integrated manner.”

The director added that the office would provide the company access to the great COMESA regional markets they are keen on expanding to.

“Kenya’s strategic location in the region and the infrastructure have enabled us to grow tremendously in the East African market. We believe we can leverage this to achieve more across the entire continent still.”

The office will host the company’s top-brass leadership overseeing operations in Africa, including the Regional Director and Interim VP for Rides, the Regional Manager for Ride-hailing, East Africa, the Regional Marketing Manager, Africa, the Senior Head of Public Policy and Legal Director for Africa.

However, the company will still maintain its local offices in each of these markets to seamlessly coordinate its operations more personally.

Bolt also said it would continue to apply a more unified approach to regional operations and investments. Currently, Bolt has a growing workforce of over 500 individuals looking after its operations, growth, and excellence in the region.

The company currently creates earning opportunities for over 400,000 drivers in over 70 cities in Africa.

Record funding

In a related story, the company recently received its largest-ever funding round for expansion, amounting to €628 million (US$716 million), to fast-track the mission to have cities move in more affordable and sustainable ways.

In January 2022, Bolt said part of the funds would speed up the expansion of its new and existing mobility and delivery products across Eastern African markets.

The investments would also boost ride-hailing services in Kenya, with emphasis on enhancing the safety features on the platform for drivers and passengers. Bolt said it would also use the investment to speed up the expansion of Bolt Food services across more urban areas in Kenya and driver and courier empowerment.

Bolt raises US$716 million to speed up expansion plans

Micah Kenneth, Regional Manager, Bolt East Africa, said the investment would further contribute to a more reliable marketplace, enhance safety features to improve customer experience and create more earning opportunities for the drivers and couriers.

“The funds will speed up the expansion of our existing mobility and delivery products across our region’s markets. We believe that the future of urban transport is a network of on-demand services, including ride-hailing, food and grocery delivery,” Micah said.

The investment round was led by Sequoia Capital and Fidelity Management and Research Company LLC with participation from Whale Rock, Owl Rock (a division of Blue Owl), D1, G Squared, Tekne, Ghisallo, and others, and takes Bolt’s valuation to €7.4 billion.

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