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Uber’s European Rival Bolt To Break Even In Most Of Its Markets, Says CEO

Uber’s European Rival Bolt To Break Even In Most Of Its Markets, Says CEO
One of the major competitors for the loss making US ride hailing startup Uber – the Estonian ride-hailing firm Bolt, claimed that in the majority of the countries it operates in, it is starting to break even.
The CEO of the company Markus Villig said in an interview to a television channel that in two thirds of the markets that it operates in, the company is now either making profits or is on the verge of becoming profitable.
The company operates in 35 countries across Europe and Africa and claimed to have a customer base of 25 million and 500,000 drivers. Since its beginning in 2013, the company was known as Taxify but was rebranded this year to be called Bolt.
The company had unsuccessfully attempted to enter the London market in 2017 without an operator’s license and in June this year, the company made a formal entry into the market in June this year. In that short time period, the company claims to have notched up 1.5 million passengers and 30,000 drivers in London, said Villig.
Om comparison, its rival Uber currently has about 3.5 million users and 45,000 drivers at the time when it was denied renewal of its operating license for London. Uber had entered the London market in 2012. The company said that it will be appealing against the decision to not renew its license to operate in London.
On the overall however Bolt is still unprofitable just like Uber. Last year, the company reported a loss of 61 million euros ($67 million) on revenues of about 80 million euros. However compared to Uber, the company has managed to lower prices for its rides because it collects lesser commissions from drivers, Villig said, and therefore it is the the “most cost efficient ride-hailing company in the world.”
Achieving company-wide profitability “mainly comes down to the question of how quickly we want to expand,” he added. “London and most of these big markets require huge investment up front to attract enough drivers and customers to the platform,” he said. “If we were to stop expanding, we would break even next year,” he said.
With a valuation of more than $1 billion, Bolt is one of the European unicorns. According to reports, the company is seeking to hold another round of funding that will cement its place as a unicorn.
“Now investors are looking at which company is having a sustainable model and could be profitable quickly,” Villig said. He added that his start-up has seen “tremendous interest from investors” in the last few months. The Chinese ride-hailing operator Didi Chuxing and German automaker Daimler are among the supporters of and funders of Bolt. .
“What it means for us as a company is that we have a great position to be really heads-down and stay focused on execution and provide the best value for customers and drivers.”
Villig said he “absolutely” visions the company now moving into other cities of the United Kingdom such as Manchester and Liverpool after its successful entry into London.  
“Our strategy has always been that we start in the capital, which is usually the biggest opportunity and has the biggest problems to solve. Then we go down into the smaller cities,” Bolt’s chief said.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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