Bolt Mobility, the Miami-based micromobility startup co-founded by Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt, seems to have vanished with no hint from a number of of its U.S. markets.
In some circumstances, the departure has been abrupt, leaving cities with deserted gear, unanswered calls and emails and plenty of questions.
Bolt has stopped working in a minimum of 5 U.S. cities, together with Portland, Oregon, Burlington, South Burlington and Winooski in Vermont and Richmond, California, in line with metropolis officers. Metropolis representatives additionally stated they have been unable to achieve anybody at Bolt, together with its CEO Ignacio Tzoumas.
TechCrunch has made a number of makes an attempt to achieve Bolt and those that have backed the corporate. Emails to Bolt’s communications division, a number of workers and traders went unanswered. Even the customer support line doesn’t look like staffed. The PR company that was representing Bolt in March of this 12 months instructed TechCrunch it’s not working with the corporate.
Bolt halted its service in Portland on July 1. The corporate’s failure to supply town with up to date insurance coverage and pay some excellent charges, Portland subsequently suspended Bolt’s allow to function there, in line with a metropolis spokesperson.
Bolt zooms than stalls
Bolt Mobility (to not be confused with the European transportation tremendous app additionally named Bolt) was on what seemed to be a progress streak about 18 months in the past. The corporate acquired in January 2021 the property of Final Mile Holdings, which owned micromobility corporations Gotcha and OjO Electrical. The purchaser opened up 48 new markets to Bolt Mobility, most of which have been smaller cities corresponding to Raleigh, North Carolina, St. Augustine, Florida and Cell, Alabama.
After buying Final Mile’s property, Bolt agreed to proceed because the bike share vendor in Chittenden County, Vermont, together with cities Burlington, South Burlington and Winooski.
That license was even renewed in 2022, stated Bryan Davis, senior transportation planner of the county.
“We discovered a few weeks in the past (from them) that Bolt is ceasing operations,” Davis instructed TechCrunch by way of e mail, noting that Bolt ceased operations July 1, however truly knowledgeable the county every week later. “They’ve vanished, leaving gear behind and emails and calls unanswered. We’re unable to achieve anybody, however it appears they’ve closed store in different markets as nicely.”
Sandy Thibault, govt director of Chittenden Space Transportation Administration Affiliation, instructed the Burlington Free Press that Bolt communicated that workers have been being let go and the corporate’s board of administrators was discussing subsequent steps.
A spokesperson at Burlington relayed related data.
“All of our contacts at Bolt, together with their CEO, have gone radio silent and haven’t replied to our emails,” Robert Goulding, public data supervisor at Burlington’s Division of Public Works, instructed TechCrunch.
Davis went on to say that about 100 bikes have been left on the bottom utterly inoperable and with useless batteries. Chittenden County has given Bolt a timeframe by which to say or take away the corporate’s automobiles in any other case the county will take possession of them.
Bolt additionally seems to have stopped working in Richmond, California, in line with Richmond Mayor Tom Butt’s e-forum.
“Sadly, Bolt apparently went out of enterprise with out prior notification or removing of their capital gear from metropolis property,” wrote Butt. “They not too long ago missed town’s month-to-month assembly check-in and have been unresponsive to all their purchasers all through all their markets.”
Butt went on to say that town is arising with a plan to take away all of the deserted gear – about 250 e-bikes that have been out there at hub areas like BART stations and the ferry terminal – and requested folks to chorus from vandalizing the bikes till town may provide you with an answer.
TechCrunch has reached out to a number of different cities by which Bolt operates and has not been capable of affirm that the corporate has stopped working totally. In truth, a spokesperson from St. Augustine instructed TechCrunch Bolt’s bike share was working as standard.
Bolt’s social media has additionally been slightly inactive in current weeks. The corporate hasn’t posted on Instagram since June 11 or on Twitter since June 2.
The final time TechCrunch heard from Bolt was 9 months in the past when the corporate was peddling its in-app navigation system that it dubbed “MobilityOS.” On the time, the startup promised that its subsequent technology of scooters would come with a smartphone mount that might double as a cellphone charger, however it’s unclear if these scooters ever hit the streets.
Bolt has publicly raised $40.2 million, an quantity that doesn’t embody an undisclosed funding from India’s Ram Charan Firm in Might. Buyers there couldn’t be reached for remark.