Bolt Mobility, the Miami-based micromobility startup co-founded by Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt, appears to have disappeared without a trace from several of its US markets.
In some cases, the departure was abrupt, leaving towns with abandoned equipment, unanswered phone calls and emails, and lots of questions.
According to city officials, Bolt has retired from work in at least five U.S. cities, including Portland, Oregon, Burlington, South Burlington and Winooski in Vermont and Richmond, California. City officials also said they could not reach anyone at Bolt, including CEO Ignacio Tzoumas.
gotechbusiness.com has made multiple attempts to reach out to Bolt and those who have supported the company. Emails to Bolt’s communications department, various employees and investors went unanswered. Even the customer service doesn’t seem to be staffed. The PR agency that was Bolt representative in March of this year told gotechbusiness.com that it is no longer working with the company.
Bolt retired from Portland on July 1. Because the company failed to provide the city with updated insurance and pay some outstanding fees, Portland then suspended Bolt’s license to work there, a city spokesperson said.
Bolt zooms in then locks
Bolt Mobility (not to be confused with the European transport super app also called) Bolt) was going through what appeared to be a growth spurt about 18 months ago. Company acquired the assets of Last Mile Holdings in January 2021, which owned micromobility companies Gotcha and OjO Electric. The buyer opened 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 bicycle stock seller in Chittenden County, Vermont, including the cities of Burlington, South Burlington, and Winooski.
That permit was even extended into 2022, said Bryan Davis, the county’s senior transportation planner.
“We learned (from them) a few weeks ago that Bolt is ceasing operations,” Davis told gotechbusiness.com via email, noting that Bolt was suspending operations on July 1, but actually informed the county a week later. brought. “They’ve disappeared, leaving equipment behind and emails and phone calls unanswered. We can’t reach anyone, but it seems they’ve closed shop in other markets as well.”
Sandy Thibault, executive director of the Chittenden Area Transportation Management Association, told the Burlington Free Press that Bolt communicated that employees were being laid off and that the company’s board of directors was discussing next steps.
A Burlington spokesperson passed on similar information.
“All of our contacts at Bolt, including their CEO, have gone radio silent and have not responded to our emails,” Robert Goulding, public information manager at Burlington’s Department of Public Works, told gotechbusiness.com.
Davis went on to say that about 100 bicycles were left on the ground completely unusable and with dead batteries. Chittenden County has given Bolt a time frame to claim or remove the company’s vehicles or the county will take ownership of them.
Bolt also appears to have stopped working in Richmond, California, according to Richmond Mayor Tom Butt’s email forum.
“Unfortunately, Bolt apparently went bankrupt without notice or removal of their capital assets from city properties,” wrote Butt. “They recently missed the city’s monthly check-in for meetings and failed to respond to all their customers in all their markets.”
Butt went on to say the city is coming up with a plan to remove all abandoned equipment — about 250 e-bikes that were available at hub locations such as BART stations and the ferry terminal — and asked people to refrain from vandalizing the bikes until the city could come up with a solution.
gotechbusiness.com has contacted several other cities in which Bolt operates and has not been able to confirm that the company has completely stopped operating. A St. Augustine spokesperson even told gotechbusiness.com Bolt’s bike share was running as usual.
Bolt’s social media has also been rather inactive in recent weeks. The company hasn’t posted anything on Instagram since June 11 and hasn’t posted on Twitter since June 2.
The last time gotechbusiness.com heard from Bolt was nine months ago when the company was peddling its… in-app navigation system that it called “MobilityOS”. At the time, the startup promised that the next generation of scooters would include a smartphone holder that doubles as a phone charger, but it’s unclear if those scooters will ever hit the streets.
Bolt has publicly raised $40.2 million, an amount no secret investment of Indian Ram Charan Company in May. Investors there could not be reached for comment.