Bolt has appointed a new CFO. Although it has faced legal challenges in Kenya, the company, which has been in operation for ten years, continues to maintain its position as one of the country’s most widely utilised ride-hailing apps.

Ride-hailing platform Bolt has picked Mikko Salovaara as its new chief finance officer (CFO). According to the firm founded a decade ago, Mikko will start his tenure in July 2023. The announcement follows Bolt’s profit gains, having experienced notable growth for the first time since 2018. Its revenue jumped by 400%, climbing from $3.4 million in 2019 to $11 million in 2022. Bolt’s gross profit rose from $1.2 million in 2021 to $2.2 million in 2022.

Salovaara, Bolt’s incoming CFO, said, “In an industry where it is notoriously hard to operate profitably, Bolt stands head and shoulders above its competitors. The culture of maximising operational efficiency, which was instilled by Markus ten years ago, continues to guide the business today and has left Bolt well-positioned to reach and maintain long-term profitability. I look forward to being part of this next stage in Bolt’s journey as the business prepares for IPO.”

The company, which operates in 45 countries and across 500 cities, has also revealed that its customers have surpassed 150 million. Bolt has over 3.5 million driver partners and couriers. Over one million of the partners serve the African market.

Development in Kenya

Bolt operates from two critical offices in Kenya. Nairobi serves as the company’s regional hub, housing crucial Bolt executives who oversee the app’s operations throughout Africa. At the same time, Bolt has a local office to address driver partner issues. The establishment of this facility came after years of receiving complaints. Driver-partners, for instance, previously lacked the opportunity to personally present their grievances to the company, relying solely on phone or email communication.

Despite facing numerous customer complaints, with some expressing dissatisfaction over the company’s perceived lack of efforts to ensure their safety from aggressive drivers, one of whom was involved in a kidnapping case, Bolt remains the most affordable e-taxi app in Kenya. Apps like Little, Uber, and Rwanda’s Yego are comparatively more expensive. Furthermore, Bolt has achieved a wider geographical coverage, as it was the first mobility app to extend its services beyond major cities like Nairobi and now serves 15 other towns in the country.

In mid-2022, the Kenyan government implemented new regulations that lowered the commission rate ride-hailing companies could impose on their drivers, reducing it from 25% to 18%. In response, Little Cab adjusted its pricing strategy by shifting from a 15% commission to a fixed fee of 18%.

Both Uber and Bolt also agreed to the new 18% commission rate. However, they introduced an additional booking fee to their fares, which was not present before implementing the new regulations. Consequently, despite adhering to the 18% commission rate, Uber and Bolt are still collecting over 23% of the total fare charged due to the inclusion of this booking fee.

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