How Does Bolt Make Money? c In A Nutshell

  • Bolt is an Estonian company offering car-sharing, food delivery, and micro-mobility services. The company was founded in 2013 by Markus Villig, who identified that the taxi industry in Tallinn was ripe for disruption.
  • Bolt operates under a marketplace model, matching drivers and restaurant owners with consumers. Depending on the service and order specifics, the company charges commission fees, delivery fees, service fees, and small order fees.
  • Bolt also charges for e-scooter and car hire and sells its taxi dispatch software to interested parties. Lastly, the company sells its technology to entrepreneurs who want to launch similar platforms and reduce their time to market.
Ride-Hailing CommissionsBolt earns a significant portion of its revenue through ride-hailing commissions. When passengers book rides through the Bolt platform, drivers pay a percentage-based commission on the fare earned for that ride. This commission varies by market and can be a substantial source of income for Bolt. The commission fees are deducted from the driver’s earnings, while the remainder is paid out to the driver.
Delivery CommissionsBolt offers food delivery services in select markets. Similar to ride-hailing, Bolt charges a commission on each food delivery order facilitated through its platform. Restaurants or food delivery partners pay this commission to Bolt as a percentage of the order total. The delivery commissions contribute to Bolt’s revenue in markets where food delivery is available.
Rental and Leasing ServicesBolt may offer vehicle rental and leasing services to drivers who want to join its platform but do not own a vehicle. Drivers can rent or lease vehicles through Bolt’s partnerships or services. Bolt generates revenue from these rental and leasing arrangements, which may include daily, weekly, or monthly fees. This provides drivers with flexibility while generating income for Bolt.
In-App Advertising and PromotionsBolt may feature in-app advertising and promotions from third-party businesses and brands. These promotions can include sponsored advertisements or special offers displayed within the Bolt app. Bolt earns revenue from advertisers and partners who pay to promote their products or services to Bolt’s user base.
Bolt Business and Corporate ServicesBolt offers business and corporate services that cater to the mobility needs of companies and organizations. These services may include corporate accounts, transportation solutions for employees, and event transportation. Businesses typically pay Bolt for these services, which can be a source of stable and recurring income for the company.
Challenges and CompetitionBolt operates in a competitive industry, facing competition from other ride-hailing and food delivery platforms, including global giants like Uber and local competitors in various markets. Ensuring a seamless user experience, maintaining competitive pricing, and addressing regulatory challenges are ongoing concerns. Safety, driver recruitment, and user retention are also significant considerations.
Future Growth StrategiesBolt’s future growth strategies may involve: – Market Expansion: Expanding its presence to new cities and regions worldwide. – Diversification: Exploring additional services beyond ride-hailing and food delivery. – Electric and Sustainable Transportation: Promoting electric and sustainable transportation options. – Enhanced Safety and Security: Implementing advanced safety features and protocols. – Partnerships and Collaborations: Forging strategic partnerships with local businesses, governments, and other stakeholders.

Origin Story

Bolt is an Estonian company offering car-sharing, food delivery, and micro-mobility services. The company was founded in 2013 by Markus Villig.

The inspiration for Bolt came after Villig experienced difficulty booking a taxi online after attending a Garage48 hackathon event.

Despite also studying for his high school exams, he immediately began work on a new platform to revolutionize the taxi industry in the Estonian capital Tallinn.

At the time, the industry was dominated by taxi companies using an outdated model where rides could only be booked through an operator in a central station.

Villig then developed an early prototype for his idea with a €5,000 loan from his parents. He also approached taxi drivers directly to gauge interest, with around 100 signing up to be featured on the platform.

The platform, known as mTakso, was launched in August 2013 and later rebranded as Taxify – an aggregator of local taxi services.

Many taxi drivers were initially hesitant to sign up for the service, but Villig worked hard to drum up support over the next six months.

As the app began to gather momentum, Villig hired brother Martin and freelance software developer Oliver Leisalu. The entire code base of the app was rewritten, allowing consumers to see a driver’s location in real-time.

Bolt raised €1.4 million in December 2014 and started to scale very quickly. This was facilitated by expansion into other European countries and the ability for any driver to join the platform regardless of background or experience level.

September 2018 marked a pivotal month for the organization. After introducing e-scooters to the streets of Paris under the brand name Bolt, Taxify became known as Bolt a few months later. 

Bolt posted revenues of €221.4 million in 2020. Unlike similar ride-sharing providers, the company emerged relatively unscathed from the coronavirus pandemic after expanding into food delivery in late 2019.

Bolt revenue generation

Essentially, Bolt operates under the marketplace business model as a connector of restaurants and drivers with consumers.

We will explain this model in more detail below.

Commission fees

Depending on the city, Bolt collects a 15-20% commission fee from the total cost of each ride it facilitates. This fee applies to both cash and card rides but does not apply to driver tips, bonuses, airport, or toll fees.

The company also charges restaurants a similar commission for every order they receive through the Bolt platform. This commission is undisclosed, though fees from similar companies range anywhere between 20 to 35%.

Service and delivery fees

Bolt also charges customers a service fee for using its platform. This fee amounts to no more than 10% of the total fare.

For those ordering food, a delivery fee is also charged depending on geographic location. A small order fee is also applicable to food orders less than the minimum order price.


Bolt also charges customers for e-scooter hire. The cost is €1 to unlock the scooter plus €0.15 for each minute of usage.

Cars can also be hired through the Bolt Drive program, a low-cost, safe, and convenient car-sharing solution. 

The minimum fee per trip is €1.50, with prices starting at €0.07 per minute depending on the type of car model rented and the distance traveled.

Fuel, parking, and insurance are all included, but a reservation fee will also be charged if the length of the hire exceeds 15 minutes.


Bolt also makes money by selling its dispatch software to taxi companies. The software helps these companies cut costs, increase dispatch efficiency, and get more rides.

The company offers a free 30-day trial period, after which an undisclosed fee is charged.


For entrepreneurs wishing to emulate Bolt’s ride-sharing success, the company also sells its technology under a franchise model.

Since these entrepreneurs take advantage of the Bolt brand and innovation ability, it can be assumed the company takes a portion of any subsequent revenue.

Key Highlights

  • Company Overview: Bolt is an Estonian company founded in 2013 by Markus Villig, offering car-sharing, food delivery, and micro-mobility services. It aimed to disrupt the traditional taxi industry and has expanded its services over the years.
  • Marketplace Model: Bolt operates under a marketplace model, connecting drivers, restaurant owners, and consumers. The platform charges various fees for its services.
  • Origin Story: Markus Villig founded Bolt (originally mTakso) after facing difficulties booking a taxi online. He created a platform to revolutionize the taxi industry in Tallinn, which later expanded into a broader range of services.
  • Service Diversification: Bolt offers various services, including ride-sharing, e-scooter rentals, and car sharing through its Bolt Drive program. It also provides a dispatch software solution to taxi companies and sells its technology under a franchise model.
  • Revenue Generation: Bolt’s revenue generation methods include:
    • Commission Fees: Bolt charges a 15-20% commission fee from each ride it facilitates and a similar commission from restaurants for every order.
    • Service and Delivery Fees: Customers are charged a service fee (up to 10% of the fare) and a delivery fee for food orders, depending on location. A small order fee applies to orders below the minimum price.
    • Rental Fees: Bolt charges for e-scooter hire and car rentals through the Bolt Drive program.
    • Software Subscriptions: Bolt sells its dispatch software to taxi companies, enhancing their efficiency and ride management.
    • Franchise Model: Entrepreneurs can buy Bolt’s technology under a franchise model, sharing revenue with the company.
  • Market Expansion: Bolt rapidly expanded beyond Estonia, entering other European markets and expanding into micro-mobility services like e-scooters.

Connected Business Models


DoorDash is a platform business model that enables restaurants to set up at no cost delivery operations. At the same time, customers get their food at home and dashers (delivery people) earn some extra money. DoorDash makes money by markup prices through delivery fees, memberships, and advertising for restaurants on the marketplace.


Glovo is a Spanish on-demand courier service that purchases and delivers products ordered through a mobile app. Founded in 2015 by Oscar Pierre and Sacha Michaud as a way to “uberize” local services. Glovo makes money via delivery fees, mini-supermarkets (fulfillment centers that Glovo operates in partnership with grocery store chains), and dark kitchens (enabling restaurants to increase their capacity).


Grubhub is an online and mobile platform for restaurant pick-up and delivery orders. In 2018 the company connected 95,000 takeout restaurants in over 1,700 U.S. cities and London. The Grubhub portfolio of brands like Seamless, LevelUp, Eat24, AllMenus, MenuPages, andTapingo. The company makes money primarily by charging restaurants a pre-order commission and it generates revenues when diners place an order on its platform. Also, it charges restaurants that use Grubhub delivery services and when diners pay for those services. 


Instacart’s business model relies on enabling an easy set up for grocery stores, the comfort for customers to get their shopping delivered at home, and an additional income stream for personal shoppers. Instacart makes money by charging service fees, via memberships, and by running performance advertising on its platform.


Lyft is a transportation-as-a-service marketplace allowing riders to find a driver for a ride. Lyft has also expanded with a multimodal platform that gives more options like bike-sharing or electric scooters. Lyft primary makes money by collecting fees from drivers that complete rides on the platform.


Postmates is a food delivery service built as a last-mile delivery service platform connecting locals with shops. Postmates makes money by collecting fees (commission, delivery, service, cart, and cancellation fees). It also makes money via its subscription service (called Unlimted – $9.99/month or $99.99 annually) giving free delivery on every order of more than $12.

Uber Eats

Uber Eats is a three-sided marketplace connecting a driver, a restaurant owner and a customer with Uber Eats platform at the center. The three-sided marketplace moves around three players: Restaurants pay commission on the orders to Uber Eats; Customers pay the small delivery charges, and at times, cancellation fee; Drivers earn through making reliable deliveries on time.

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