Bolt Mobility is gone, leaving e-bikes, calls unanswered in some US cities – TechCrunch

Bolt Mobility, the Miami-based micro-mobile startup co-founded by Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt, has seemingly disappeared without a trace in some markets. in U.S.A.

In some cases, the departure was sudden, leaving cities with abandoned equipment, unanswered calls and emails, and lots of questions.

Bolt has been shut down in at least five US cities, including Portland, Oregon, Burlington, South Burlington and Winooski in Vermont and Richmond, California, according to city officials. City representatives also said they were unable to contact anyone at Bolt, including CEO Ignacio Tzoumas.

TechCrunch has made multiple efforts to reach Bolt and the people who have backed the company. Emails sent to Bolt’s communications department, some employees and investors went unanswered. Even the customer service line doesn’t seem to be staffed. The PR agency has represent Bolt in March of this year told TechCrunch that it is no longer working with the company.

Bolt suspended its service in Portland on July 1. Because of the company’s failure to provide the city with up-to-date insurance and pay some outstanding fees, Portland subsequently suspended Bolt’s license to operate there, according to a city spokesperson.

Bolts enlarge more than stalls

Bolt Mobility (not to be confused with the European transport super app also named Flash) on what appears to be a bullish streak about 18 months ago. Company bought in January 2021 Last Mile Holdings property, which owns micromobility companies Gotcha and OjO Electric. Buyers opened 48 new markets for Bolt Mobility, mostly in smaller cities like Raleigh, North Carolina, St. Augustine, Florida and Mobile, Alabama.

After purchasing Last Mile’s assets, Bolt agreed to continue as a bicycle distribution company in Chittenden County, Vermont, including the cities of Burlington, South Burlington and Winooski.

Bryan Davis, the county’s senior transportation planner, said that permit is even up for renewal in 2022.

“We learned a few weeks ago (from them) that Bolt was shutting down,” Davis told TechCrunch via email, noting that Bolt was down July 1, but actually notified the county. a week later. “They disappeared, leaving the device and emails and calls unanswered. We were unable to contact anyone, but it appears they have closed stores in other markets as well.”

Sandy Thibault, executive director of the Chittenden Regional Transportation Management Association, told Burlington Free Press Bolt has announced that employees are being let go and the company’s board of directors is discussing next steps.

A Burlington spokesman relayed similar information.

Robert Goulding, director of public information at the Burlington Department of Public Works, told TechCrunch: “All of our contacts at Bolt, including their CEO, are silent on the radio and do not respond to emails. ours.

Davis went on to say that about 100 bikes were left on the ground completely inoperable and out of batteries. Chittenden County gave Bolt a timeframe to claim or remove the company’s vehicles or else the county would take ownership of them.

Bolt appears to have been shut down in Richmond, California, according to Richmond Mayor Tom Butt’s electronic forum.

“Unfortunately, Bolt appears to have gone out of business without prior notice or removed their capital equipment from the city property,” wrote Butt. “Recently, they missed the city’s monthly meeting audit and were unresponsive to all of their customers across all of their markets.”

Butt went on to say that the city is planning to get rid of all abandoned equipment — about 250 e-bikes are available at central locations like BART stations and ferry terminals — and ask people not to destroy them. destroy bicycles until the city can come up with 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 altogether. In fact, a spokesman for St. Augustine told TechCrunch Bolt the shared bike is still working as usual.

Bolt’s social media has also been down in recent weeks. The company hasn’t posted on Instagram since June 11 or on Twitter since June 2.

The last time TechCrunch received news from Bolt was 9 months ago when the company was selling navigation system in the app, which it named “MobilityOS”. At the time, the startup promised that its next generation of scooters would include a smartphone holder that could act as a phone charger, but it was unclear whether the cars would be used as a charger. Will that scooter ever hit the street?

Bolt has publicly raised $40.2 million, an amount excluding undisclosed investment from Ram Charan Company of India in the May. Investors there could not be reached for comment.

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