As Uber Eats hits trouble in key international markets, others are seizing the opportunity.
— Erika Adams
Uber Technologies Inc. rival Bolt, formerly known as Taxify, is preparing to expand into the food-delivery market and utilize its existing network of drivers to do so quickly.
Uber Eats doesn’t operate in some parts of in eastern Europe and Africa, which Bolt considers key markets. This provides “a good avenue” for the company to pursue, Bolt Chief Executive Officer Markus Villig said.
“Anywhere we have the market-leading position is a good place for us to consider, as we can utilize the massive rider base, drivers and payment infrastructure we already have,” he said in an interview.
Estonia, Finland and South Africa have been picked as the first markets where Bolt will roll out the new service in the next few months, the company said Thursday in a statement.
Bolt’s expansion follows significant consolidation of the food-delivery market in Western Europe, and escalating talk of further deals to come.
Takeaway.com NV agreed to acquire the German businesses of Delivery Hero SE for approximately 930 million euros ($1 billion) in December, while Uber’s bid for Deliveroo stalled over a disagreement on valuation. Britain’s Just Eat Plc, which has a market value of about $7 billion, recently saw investor Cat Rock Capital Management LP lobby for the company to merge with a rival.
Villig said he doesn’t see “major competitors” existing in the three countries Bolt plans to target first, despite all having existing food-delivery services such as Wolt in Estonia, Delivery Hero in Finland, and Uber Eats in South Africa.
Bolt has 25 million registered users across the 30 countries where it’s active, and hundreds of thousands of drivers of its ride-hailing service, according to a spokesman. Villig said he’s confident the market power the company has as a result will support his ambition.
The company raised $175 million in May last year at a $1 billion valuation, in a deal led by Daimler AG.
©2019 Bloomberg L.P.