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Bolt Mobility has vanished, leaving e-bikes, unanswered calls behind in a number of US cities – TechCrunch


Bolt Mobility, the Miami-based micromobility startup co-founded by Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt, seems to have vanished with out a hint from a number of of its U.S. markets. 

In some circumstances, the departure has been abrupt, leaving cities with deserted tools, unanswered calls and emails and many questions.

Bolt has stopped working in at the very least 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 succeed in anybody at Bolt, together with its CEO Ignacio Tzoumas.

TechCrunch has made a number of makes an attempt to succeed in Bolt and people who have backed the corporate. Emails to Bolt’s communications division, a number of workers and buyers 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 now not working with the corporate. 

Bolt halted its service in Portland on July 1. The corporate’s failure to offer 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 belongings 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 akin to Raleigh, North Carolina, St. Augustine, Florida and Cell, Alabama. 

After buying Final Mile’s belongings, 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 electronic mail, noting that Bolt ceased operations July 1, however truly knowledgeable the county per week later. “They’ve vanished, leaving tools behind and emails and calls unanswered. We’re unable to succeed in anybody, nevertheless it appears they’ve closed store in different markets as effectively.”

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 comparable 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 fully inoperable and with lifeless batteries. Chittenden County has given Bolt a timeframe wherein 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 tools from metropolis property,” wrote Butt. “They lately missed town’s month-to-month assembly check-in and have been unresponsive to all their shoppers all through all their markets.”

Butt went on to say that town is arising with a plan to take away all of the deserted tools – about 250 e-bikes that have been obtainable at hub places like BART stations and the ferry terminal – and requested folks to chorus from vandalizing the bikes till town may give you an answer. 

TechCrunch has reached out to a number of different cities wherein Bolt operates and has not been capable of affirm that the corporate has stopped working fully. In truth, a spokesperson from St. Augustine instructed TechCrunch Bolt’s bike share was working as typical.

Bolt’s social media has additionally been fairly 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 may double as a cellphone charger, nevertheless 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.

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