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Uber's European rival Bolt starts in London

The Estonian hiding company Bolt, formerly known as Taxify


Uber's European rival Bolt is now entering the streets of London starting on Tuesday in the British capital. It joins a growing list of start-ups seeking to gain market share from Uber in Greater London.

"We see this as a monumental affair for both the company and the entire ride-hail industry," said Bolt CEO Markus Villig in an interview with CNBC. "London is one of Uber's largest and most profitable markets worldwide, with no serious competitors."

Villig, who founded the company in 201

3, said more than 20,000 drivers have signed with Bolt before starting on Tuesday. According to the Department of Transportation, an estimated 87,900 private rental vehicles were registered in London (as of March 2018).

Bolt operates in 30 countries and 100 cities with 25 million customers worldwide. The Estonian-based company raised $ 1 billion last year and joined an exclusive club of European tech unicorns. According to Villig, Bolt convinced drivers and passengers with lower fees and commissions across Europe and Africa.

"We focus on markets where Uber once had a monopoly, and then come up with a much better deal for drivers," he said.

Bolt receives a 15% commission from riders per ride, which allows drivers to earn on average over 10% more than on other platforms. Last month, some Uber riders went on strike in London, demanding a 25% reduction in commissions to 15%.

Uber went public last month with a value of nearly $ 80 billion. Since then, the performance of the stock has been volatile as investors seek to determine if and when the company will make profits. Uber reported a net loss of $ 1.01 billion in the first quarter of 2019.

London struck Uber as the city regulators revoked their license in the city in 2017, citing a "lack of corporate responsibility". Uber appealed the verdict and received a 15-month license with some general conditions.

Villig said it took "more than a year" for Bolt to obtain his London license. Passengers can request rides via the Bolt app from Tuesday morning.

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