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Ride-hailing company Bolt, formerly known as Taxify, is also backed by German carmaker Daimler. Photo: Shutterstock

Ride-hailing firm Bolt, backed by China’s Didi Chuxing, valued at US$1.9 billion after funding round

  • Estonian ride-hailing services provider Bolt, formerly known as Taxify, operates in more than 150 cities across Europe and Africa
  • Launched in 2013, Bolt has more than 30 million users
Didi Chuxing-backed Bolt Technology closed a new funding round to bolster its main business and services launched to deal with the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis, driving up the Estonian ride-hailing company’s value to 1.7 billion euros (US$1.9 billion).

Bolt, formerly known as Taxify, a rival to Uber Technologies, received 100 million euros from Naya Capital Management, bringing total funds raised by the company to more than 300 million euros, it said in an emailed statement on Tuesday. Naya has invested in Bolt since 2019.

Last month, local media reported that Bolt was seeking credit support from the Estonian government after a switch to quarantine-friendly services did not make up for lost revenue.

“Even though the [coronavirus] crisis has temporarily changed how we move, the long-term trends that drive on-demand mobility such as declining personal car ownership or the shift towards greener transportation continue to grow,” Bolt co-founder and chief executive Markus Villig said in a statement.

Bolt’s ride-hailing app has more than 30 million users across Europe and Africa. Photo: Shutterstock

Launched in 2013 and based in the Estonian capital of Talinn, Bolt has more than 30 million users. The company, which is also backed by German car maker Daimler, operates in more than 150 cities across Europe and Africa. It has expedited the opening of new services in the past several months, like food delivery, covering 12 countries and a new courier business.

The successful fundraising by Bolt comes amid lay-offs at North America’s major ride-hailing companies. Uber announced last week another round of job cuts, part of efforts to focus on a few key regions and businesses to survive the coronavirus pandemic. Lyft has reduced about 17 per cent of its staff.

Bolt has been among the biggest beneficiaries of the Estonian government’s job retention measure. A state fund covers most of its labour costs for more than 500 employees in the country during April and May.