Reflecting on 10 years of innovation in mobility | Bolt Blog

Reflecting on 10 years of innovation in mobility | Bolt Blog

In celebration of Bolt’s 10th anniversary, we’re excited to introduce some people who make Bolt Bolt. You’ll hear some first-hand insights regarding Bolt’s journey over the past decade, and learn a little bit about our exciting plans for the future.

Ruslanas Savičius, Bolt Food Regional Manager in Africa

Meet Ruslanas Savičius. He’s Bolt employee number 8 and has been with Bolt for 8 years. 

Ruslanas started as an Operations Manager for ride-hailing in Lithuania and has recently taken up the role of Bolt Food Regional Manager in Africa.

He’s helped build and manage our ride-hailing and Bolt Food businesses in Lithuania and was excited to sit down and share his key learnings and best memories with us.

Ruslanas, how has Bolt changed since you joined the company 8 years ago?

“The most noticeable change for someone who has been on the ground for a while is the size of the team. The following photo was taken at the 2015 Summer Summit, it features about 80% of the entire company (22 people).”

“Today’s Bolt Summer Summits are attended by thousands of employees from all over the world.”

What have been the most noticeable changes in the ride-hailing industry over the past 8 years?

“The biggest transformation has been the modernising of the industry, getting drivers to switch from radio to in-app orders.”

“In the Baltics, Uber changed the game. They got municipalities to unlock private driver services, opening a vast supply pool for us. We had a better position in the Baltics as we’d already been operating for 1–2 years there and had a decent level of brand awareness. But the main struggle had always been the supply of drivers.”

“Until then, licenced taxi drivers relied on a higher price per trip rather than more orders per hour. The availability of cars and drivers was poor, and wait times for customers were long.”

What challenges did you face in the early years?

“The first challenge was explaining to taxi drivers how to operate a keyless mobile device. It’s a true story — about a quarter of the drivers on the platform had no idea what to do with a smartphone!”

“Secondly, everything was manual work. The first ‘sign-up bonuses’ were activated in person by local teams. We’d copy newly signed users’ phone numbers from Google Forms and upload them to admin every hour.”

“And back then, there were only two local employees — a country manager and an operations manager. They handled local marketing, growth, operations, and customer support — actually, all functions except product development.”

Can you share your favourite work-related achievements or milestones?

“I joined the company in 2015. In May of that year, Lithuania (Vilnius) was receiving about 3,000 orders per month. One and a half years later, Lithuania was receiving 15,000 orders each month. I remember this crystal clear as it was the first time I got a salary increase!”

“The second one was scaling up two verticals in Lithuania — ride-hailing and food delivery. Both went on to achieve profitability and became the market leader before I moved on to new challenges.”

At Bolt, working hard often comes with playing hard. What’s your favourite non-work memory from your time at Bolt?

“It’s hard to choose only 1, so here are my top 2.”

“7 years ago, when there were only 1 or 2 Teslas in Lithuania, we came up with a campaign where we rented a Tesla from Estonia and rotated it across the Baltics — a week in each country.” 

“The idea was that during the day, we’d give it to influencers in return for social media posts with #taxify #taxifytesla, and at night, we’d offer users free rides. I think I only slept 2–3 hours per night that week”. 

“Another favourite memory was the 2019 Cape Town winter summit — that was something. Leaving the continent for the first time was an incredible feeling.” 

“We had an agenda for the week, including work-related tasks and discovering the country. It was my first time seeing penguins in real life.”

How do you stay motivated and engaged after 8 years at Bolt?

“I’m well-challenged and feel like I’m continuously growing professionally. Each day at Bolt is different and full of ad-hoc tasks which have kept me on my toes for the past 8 years.”

What goals or aspirations do you have for yourself and your team in the coming years?

“I recently moved to a new region and will focus on the Bolt Food vertical in Africa.” 

“This region has vast untapped opportunities, so the goal is to at least double the business and become profitable.”

10 years is a long time for the fastest-growing tech company in European history. If you had to make a prediction — where do you see Bolt in 10 years?

“Bolt will be the global super-app, offering services yet to be invented! Bolt will be well-known not just in Europe and Africa, but worldwide.“

Looking to the future

Bolt’s future relies on attracting and retaining the finest talent out there. But, speaking honestly, our planet won’t have a future without all of us thinking more sustainably.

Fortunately, our Safety and Sustainability team is already working hard on both of these crucial topics.

Jaanus Uiga, Environmental Manager

They say the best way to predict the future is to create it, and that’s precisely what we’re doing at Bolt.

Our Environmental Manager, Jaanus Uiga, started at Bolt just over half a year ago. He joined us from Estonia’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, where he worked as the Director of the Energy Department. 

His team’s primary goal at the Ministry was getting Estonia’s energy sector on track to become carbon neutral by 2050. He now has big plans for Bolt.

“I joined Bolt because I believe my background as a leader and subject matter expert will enable me to help get Bolt to carbon net zero while gaining a competitive advantage.” 

“I also like meaningful work in a fast-paced, challenging environment surrounded by high-performers. Working at Bolt offers all of that and more.”

Jaanus, why does Bolt care about the environment?

“Firstly, Bolt’s mission is to make cities for people, not cars. This aligns well with global sustainability efforts.”

“The Earth’s already about 1.1°C warmer than in pre-industrial times, and emissions continue to rise. To keep global warming at no more than 1.5°C — as called for in the Paris Agreement – emissions need to be reduced by 45% by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050.”

“To reach this goal, everyone must contribute, especially large companies like Bolt, which are well-positioned to help drive the transition to a climate-neutral economy.”

“Secondly, the European Union has set a goal to become carbon neutral by 2050. Every company that wants to do business in the EU will have to take meaningful steps to become climate neutral sooner rather than later.” 

“Coming even closer, customers and investors are increasingly expecting companies to have net zero goals and take action to achieve them. Our major competitors also share this view.” 

What are Bolt’s environmental goals?

“We’re thrilled to announce that Bolt’s environmental goals are much clearer and more defined since the start of 2023.” 

With the adoption of our Environmental Strategy, Bolt’s committed to the following:

These goals build upon our Green Plan that was launched in 2019.

Who at Bolt is making those goals a reality?
“While I’d like to say that only Sam (Sam Robson, Head of Safety and Sustainability) and I bring home the results, it’s quite the opposite.”

“These goals are — and must — be made a reality by everyone at Bolt. Sustainability initiatives aren’t completed by a dedicated task force somewhere far away.”

“The only way to painlessly attain our sustainability goals (including environmental goals) is by integrating sustainability principles into business processes. The sooner we do that, the easier it is to cope with legislative changes and changing customer expectations.”

“Sam and I are here to facilitate all of this and ensure we have all the necessary processes, systems, and contextual information in place.”

How is the Sustainability team helping Bolt achieve these goals?

“Here’s an example: ride-hailing’s our biggest revenue source and our most significant source of emissions (over 95% in 2022). Switching to using fully electric vehicles (EVs) looks like a straightforward enough solution.”

“But reducing these emissions is a massive task since we don’t own ride-hailing vehicles. Also, according to the IEA, there are 300+ million passenger cars on the road in Europe, but only 4.4 million of them are electric. Clearly, it’s not reasonable to assume that all of those EVs will come to our ride-hailing platform.”

“Now that we know this contextual information, we can plan and take meaningful action to do what we can with the available tools and opportunities.”

“Launching a large-scale campaign across every European country and city would be a waste of resources. Instead, we should focus on markets with higher EV penetration (e.g. London) and potential growth and encourage existing EV owners to choose our platform.”

“And since we’re a shared mobility platform, we can also deploy light electric vehicles such as scooters and e-bikes and continue to encourage the shift from cars to micromobility.”

“It’s up to the Sustainability team to identify these macro trends, gather data and take the lead on setting up company-wide initiatives. We’ll highlight these challenges and opportunities to the relevant departments while local teams can decide which actions pack the most punch.”

Where did our road to being a more sustainable company begin?

“Our 2019 Green Plan was the first major initiative. It’s a long-term commitment to reduce our environmental footprint, and we’ve continued to build on it ever since.”

“Bolt’s first initiatives focused on getting a better picture of our environmental footprint (as measured by greenhouse gas emissions) and compensating for it via purchasing carbon offsets. But our actions have become more complex with every passing year.“

What steps are we taking to achieve Bolt’s sustainability goals?

“In January 2023, with the adoption of Bolt’s Environmental Strategy, we set a goal to reach carbon net zero by 2040.”

“We continued driving modal shift, promoted the usage of scooters and e-bikes, and made more than 16,000 fully electric vehicles and more than 200,000 light electric vehicles (scooters and e-bikes) available to customers in over 40 countries.”

“We renewed the ISO 14001:2015 sustainability certification of our offices and warehouses and started strengthening the sustainability in our value chain by launching Bolt’s Supplier Code of Conduct.”

“We also continued compensating for the remaining emissions from our operations in cooperation with Climate Impact Partners and Seedballs Kenya.”

Hear more about our story

As we celebrate our 10-year milestone, we’re filled with pride and gratitude and look forward to sharing more highlights with you!

Delve deeper into our story by hearing from the people behind Bolt Food, or get inspired by Dmitri Pivovarov as he details his journey from product manager to VP of Rentals.

Stay tuned to our social media channels for exciting surprises as we celebrate Bolt 10!