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European Uber rival Bolt raises greater than $180 million for A.I. drive

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A Bolt driver in Krakow, Poland.

Beata Zawrzel | NurPhoto through Getty Images

LONDON — Bolt, a European competitor to ride-hailing large Uber, mentioned Wednesday it had raised 150 million euros ($182 million) to bolster the security of its platform by way of facial recognition and synthetic intelligence.

The Estonia-based firm declined to reveal its valuation however mentioned it was up from the 1.7 billion euros ($2.1 billion) it was price after a 100 million euro convertible observe issuance in May.

Bolt’s newest spherical of funding was led by D1 Capital Partners, the hedge fund run by American billionaire Daniel Sundheim. Darsana Capital Partners, one other hedge fund, additionally invested.

Bolt mentioned it will use the cash to boost its security options and assist it develop its ride-hailing, electrical bike and scooter rental and meals supply providers. The agency’s app now counts greater than 50 million customers in over 40 international locations throughout Europe and Africa.

“In 2021, we are doubling down to be the industry leader in safety and quality of the platform,” Markus Villig, Bolt’s CEO, mentioned in an announcement.

“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.”

Ride-hailing providers have been closely hit by the coronavirus pandemic this 12 months, with Uber reporting two straight quarters of declining income and cumulative losses of $5.eight billion for the 12 months to this point.

Demand for ride-sharing fell off a cliff as customers had been pressured indoors resulting from authorities lockdown measures. However, Uber has benefited from rising demand for meals supply providers.

Bolt, which is backed by German automaker Daimler and Chinese ride-hailer Didi Chuxing, equally noticed its revenues fall as coronavirus restrictions tightened throughout Europe. In March, the corporate’s gross sales plunged 75% in contrast the earlier month.

But Bolt claims it has had 12 months because of funding in newer product traces similar to scooters and meals supply. The firm launched a brand new e-scooter mannequin earlier this month, and has dedicated to take a position 100 million euros to roll out scooters to extra markets.

“Despite the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bolt has seen immense growth in the past year,” mentioned Villig. “We have almost doubled our number of customers and launched our services from ride-hailing to micromobility and food delivery in 50 new cities.”


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