Leading European micromobility provider Bolt has been busy on the well-being front: donating €3 million (A$44.41 million) to aid agencies, trialling new AI technology to stop people riding its scooters on footpaths and boost safety, and giving its own coffers a very healthy boost.
Earlier this month, the Estonian company announced it has donated €3 million to Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) supporting Ukraine during the Russian invasion, “with more to come”.
Recipients of its donations have included Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders and refugee services.
Bolt has also offered incentives to Bolt drivers in Poland and Slovakia to accept rides at the Ukrainian border to transport people to safe destinations, Bolt CEO and founder Markus Villig said.
“We are doing our best to keep our services in Ukraine functioning to assist with movement in these difficult times,” Marcus said.
“Last week, we reduced the commission for all our services in Ukraine to zero.”
Another share service global leader, Lime, has partnered with Polish Humanitarian Action to supply people affected by the war with food, hygiene and other essential supplies.
Lime is also offering two free rides to people in Poland donating blood, amid a donation centre drive to supply blood to Ukraine medical services.
AI Crackdown on Footpath Riding
Bolt this month embarked on a pilot project in the Norwegian capital of Oslo, using a camera mounted on the scooter and AI-based technology to detect when go onto footpaths.
An onboard device uses AI to distinguish between different infrastructure types.
“Users will be guided to drive in safer areas and park their scooters safely,” according to a statement from Bolt.
It said scooters in the pilot will be tested by the Bolt team, scanning streets, pavements and bike lanes in Oslo to ensure the trial’s results are as accurate as possible.
In January, Bolt announced it had raised €628 million (A$920.45 million) in its most recent round of funding.
The investment round was led by Sequoia and Fidelity Management and increased Bolt’s valuation to €7.4 billion (A$10.85 billion).
Bolt said it will use the funds to expand and further improve its full suite of mobility and delivery products, currently used in 45 countries and over 400 cities throughout Europe and Africa.
Those products include one of the company’s newest ventures, Bolt Market, which offers grocery deliveries within 15 minutes through the Bolt Food app.
Developed and launched during the COVID pandemic, it included dozens of stores in 10 European countries at the start of the year.
“This new investment will help us accelerate its expansion rapidly in 2022, as we plan to have hundreds of stores operational by the end of the year,” the statement says.
It was the largest funding round in Bolt’s nine-year history and came as the micromobility industry raised a total of €1 billion (A$1.47 billion) in the first two months of 2022.
By comparison, approximately €1 billion in capital was raised by the industry during all of 2020.