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Bolt Mobility disappeared, leaving behind e-bikes, unanswered calls in several US cities – TechCrunch

Bolt Mobility, the Miami-based micromobility startup co-founded by Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt, appears to have vanished without a trace from many of its US markets.

In some cases, the departure has been abrupt, leaving towns with abandoned equipment, unanswered calls and emails, and many questions.

Bolt has ceased operations in at least five U.S. cities, including Portland, Oregon, Burlington, South Burlington and Winooski in Vermont and Richmond, California, according to city officials. City officials also said they were unable to reach anyone at Bolt, including its CEO Ignacio Tzoumas.

TechCrunch made several attempts to reach Bolt and those who supported the company. Emails to Bolt’s communications department, several employees and investors went unanswered. Even the customer service line doesn’t seem to be staffed. The public relations agency that was representing Bolt in March of this year told TechCrunch that he is no longer working with the company.

Bolt went off duty in Portland on July 1. The company’s inability to provide the city with updated insurance and pay some outstanding fees, Portland subsequently suspended Bolt’s license to operate there, according to a city spokesperson.

The bolt zooms as the stalls

Bolt Mobility (not to be confused with the super European transport app also named Lock) was on what appeared to be a growth streak about 18 months ago. The company acquired in January 2021 the assets of Last Mile Holdings, which owned micromobility companies Gotcha and OjO Electric. The buyer opened 48 new markets to Bolt Mobility, most of which were smaller cities such as Raleigh, North Carolina, St. Augustine, Florida, and Mobile, Alabama.

After purchasing the assets of Last Mile, Bolt agreed to continue as a bike share seller in Chittenden County, Vermont, including the cities of Burlington, South Burlington and Winooski.

That license was even renewed in 2022, said Bryan Davis, the county’s senior transportation planner.

“We learned a few weeks ago (from them) that Bolt is going out of business,” Davis told TechCrunch via email, noting that Bolt went out of business on July 1, but actually notified the county a week later. “They disappeared, leaving behind material and unanswered emails and calls. We can’t reach anyone, but it looks like 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 the employees were being terminated and that the company’s board was discussing next steps.

A Burlington spokesperson relayed similar information.

“All of our contacts at Bolt, including their CEO, have remained silent and have not responded to our emails,” Robert Goulding, public information officer at the Burlington Department of Public Works, told TechCrunch.

Davis went on to say that about 100 bikes were left on the ground completely unusable and with dead batteries. Chittenden County gave Bolt a deadline to claim or remove the vehicles from the company or the county will take ownership.

Bolt also appears to have stopped working in Richmond, Calif., according to Richmond Mayor Tom Butt’s email forum.

“Unfortunately, Bolt apparently ceased operations without prior notification or removal of its capital assets from City ownership,” wrote end to end. “They recently missed the monthly town meeting check-in and haven’t responded to all of their customers in all of their markets.”

Butt went on to say the city was coming up with a plan to remove all abandoned equipment — about 250 e-bikes that were available at hubs like BART stations and the ferry terminal — and asked people to refrain from vandalizing the bikes until the city could find a solution.

TechCrunch has contacted several other cities in which Bolt operates and was unable to confirm that the company has completely ceased operations. In fact, a St. Augustine spokesperson said TechCrunch Bolt’s bike share was operating as usual.

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

The last time TechCrunch heard of Bolt was nine months ago when the company was selling its navigation system integrated into the application which he baptized “MobilityOS”. At the time, the startup promised that its next generation of scooters would include a smartphone holder that would double as a phone charger, but it’s unclear if these scooters will ever hit the streets.

Bolt has publicly raised $40.2 million, an amount that does not include undisclosed investment by Indian company Ram Charan in May. Investors could not be reached for comment.


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