Bolt, the popular ride-hailing platform, has opened a new Africa head office in Nairobi, Kenya. This new office will be a regional hub for the 7 African countries in which Bolt is operational—Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, and Tunisia.
Located on Riverside Drive, the regional hub will host Bolt’s top African executives, including regional manager for ride-hailing, East Africa; regional director and interim VP for rides; regional marketing manager, Africa; senior head of public policy and legal director for Africa.
Following its funding round in January 2022 which saw the company raise $709 million, the global ride-hailing firm has added more partners and established new business lines. Currently, Bolt employs more than 400,000 drivers in over 70 cities in Africa.
Some other growth moves the company has made recently include offering food delivery services and private drivers for hire. Also, Bolt’s platform only takes a 15% commission from its drivers. This is almost half of what is obtainable by other ride-hailing operators in the region and has consequently incentivised more drivers to use the platform.
Speaking on the launch of the new office, Bolt’s regional director and interim VP for rides, Paddy Partridge, maintained that the investment is significant in bolstering the firm’s presence in Africa, considering Kenya’s strategic location and infrastructural advancement. “This investment is strategic for us, as it will enable us to run and coordinate operations seamlessly across Africa in an integrated manner.”
“This is just the beginning, and we hope it enables us to develop a cohesive model for sustainable cities engagement that will help improve city services and urban transportation for the millions of people in the region,” he added.
The regional director also made the point that choosing Kenya as the African headquarters will enable Bolt to access the COMESA regional markets which happen to be one of the key markets that the company has its eyes on.
“Kenya’s strategic location in the region and the infrastructure have enabled us to grow tremendously in the East African market. We believe we can leverage this to achieve more across the entire continent still.”
Despite operating in 7 African countries for years, this is Bolt’s first move to operate a centralised African office. With this move, the Estonian-based mobility company joins the growing list of global technology firms— including Google and Microsoft—setting up hubs, labs, and offices in the Kenyan capital as they race to tap into the larger African market.