Bolt Mobility, the Miami-based micromobility startup co-founded by Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt, appears to have disappeared from several of its U.S. markets without a trace.
In some cases, departures have been abrupt, leaving cities with abandoned devices, unanswered calls and emails, and plenty of questions.
Bolt has suspended operations in at least five U.S. cities, including Portland, Oregon, Burlington, South Burlington and Winooski in Vermont and Richmond, California, according to city officials. City officials also said they could not reach anyone at Bolt, including its CEO Ignacio Tzoumas.
TechCrunch has made multiple attempts to reach Bolt and those who have supported the company. Emails to Bolt’s communications department, several employees, and investors went unanswered. Customer service doesn’t seem to be busy either. The PR agency that was Replacing Bolt in March Earlier this year, TechCrunch announced that it was no longer working with the company.
Bolt retired from Portland duty on July 1. The company’s failure to provide the city with updated insurance and pay some outstanding dues subsequently suspended Portland’s approval of Bolt to operate there, according to a city spokesman.
Bolt zooms as stalls
Bolt Mobility (not to be confused with the also named European transport super app bolt) was in an apparent growth phase about 18 months ago. The enterprise acquired in January 2021 the Last Mile Holdings assets, which owned micro-mobility companies Gotcha and OjO Electric. The buyer opened up 48 new markets for Bolt Mobility, most of which were smaller cities such as Raleigh, North Carolina, St. Augustine, Florida and Mobile, Alabama.
After purchasing Last Mile’s assets, Bolt agreed to continue as a bike rental business in Chittenden County, Vermont, including the cities of Burlington, South Burlington, and Winooski.
That license was even renewed in 2022, said Bryan Davis, the county’s chief transportation planner.
“We found out a few weeks ago (from them) that Bolt was shutting down operations,” Davis told TechCrunch via email, noting that Bolt shut down operations on July 1 but actually notified the county a week later . “They disappeared, leaving behind devices and unanswered emails and calls. We can’t get hold of anyone, but apparently they’ve closed in other markets as well.”
Sandy Thibault, executive director of the Chittenden Area Transportation Management Association, told the Burlington FreePress that Bolt said employees were being laid off and the company’s board was discussing next steps.
A Burlington spokesman shared similar information.
“All of our contacts at Bolt, including their CEO, have gone dead and have not responded to our emails,” Robert Goulding, public information manager at Burlington’s Department of Public Works, told TechCrunch.
Davis went on to say that about 100 bikes were left on the ground completely inoperable and with dead batteries. Chittenden County has given Bolt a time frame to claim or remove the company’s vehicles, failing which the county will take ownership of them.
According to Richmond Mayor Tom Butt’s e-forum, Bolt also appears to have ceased operations in Richmond, California.
“Unfortunately, Bolt appears to have gone out of business without prior notice or removal of its capital equipment from city property.” wrote butt. “They recently missed the city’s monthly meeting check-in and were not responding to all of their customers in all of their markets.”
Butt went on to say that the city is developing a plan to remove any abandoned equipment — about 250 e-bikes that were available at hubs like BART stations and the ferry terminal — and urged people not to destroy the bikes until then The city could find a solution.
TechCrunch has reached out to several other cities where Bolt operates and has not been able to confirm that the company has ceased operations entirely. In fact, a St. Augustine spokesman said TechCrunch Bolt’s bike release is going on as usual.
Bolt’s social media has also been rather inactive for the past few weeks. The company has not posted on Instagram since June 11, nor on Twitter since June 2.
The last time TechCrunch heard from Bolt was nine months ago when the company peddled it In-app navigation system called “MobilityOS”. At the time, the startup promised that its next generation of scooters would include a smartphone holder that would double as a phone charger, but it’s unclear if these scooters would ever hit the streets.
Bolt has publicly raised $40.2 million, an amount not including one undisclosed investment by India’s Ram Charan Company in May. Investors there could not be reached for comment.
Bolt Mobility has vanished, leaving e-bikes, unanswered calls behind in several US cities – TechCrunch Source link Bolt Mobility has vanished, leaving e-bikes, unanswered calls behind in several US cities – TechCrunch