Bolt founder Markus Villig visited Kenya and South Africa to meet with local teams, try out the products on the ground, and meet with government officials and industry stakeholders.
Villig discussed Bolt’s plans to expand to smaller towns in Kenya, invest nearly Sh70 billion in Africa, and focus on vehicle financing for drivers to match increasing customer demand.
Villig also talked about the launch of the women-only category to empower and motivate more women drivers to join the ride-hailing industry and the company’s vision for better cities designed for people and not just cars.
Markus Villig, the founder and CEO of ride-hailing company Bolt, recently visited Kenya and South Africa to meet with local teams, try out Bolt’s products, and hold meetings with government officials and industry stakeholders. In an exclusive interview with Capital Business, Villig discussed Bolt’s plans for expansion and investment in Kenya, as well as his vision for the future of ride-hailing and mobility.
One of the key areas of focus for Bolt in Kenya is expanding into smaller towns and cities. Villig notes that Bolt currently operates in larger cities such as Nairobi and Mombasa, but sees potential for growth in smaller markets. “We absolutely see that the service also works in very smaller cities, and that is something that we are looking to expand into in the next couple of years,” he says.
In terms of investment, Villig announced that Bolt will be investing nearly $530 million in Africa, with Kenya set to receive a “sizable chunk” of that investment. Villig sees Kenya as one of Bolt’s biggest and fastest-growing markets in Africa and notes that the company is focusing on getting more drivers on the platform to meet the increasing demand from customers.
To achieve this, Bolt is exploring vehicle financing options for drivers, which Villig sees as a key area for growth and investment in Kenya. “We need to match that demand by adding more drivers to the platform. One of the ways to achieve this is through vehicle financing for drivers,” he explains.
Villig also discusses Bolt’s recent launch of a “women-only” category, which aims to enhance the safety of female driver and passenger. The feedback so far has been extremely positive, and Villig sees this as a way to empower and motivate more women drivers to join the ride-hailing industry.
Regarding future plans, Villig believes that Bolt can play a key role in creating better cities focused on people, not cars. He notes that Bolt’s mission is to make cities more pedestrian and bike-friendly and sees Bolt as the best company to help realise this vision for Nairobi and Kenya as a whole.
Overall, Villig’s visit to Kenya and South Africa highlighted Bolt’s commitment to investing in the region and working with local stakeholders to create innovative solutions to mobility challenges. As Bolt continues to expand and grow, it will be interesting to see how the company’s vision for the future of ride-hailing and mobility plays out in Kenya and beyond.