The co-founded (2018) startup company by world acclaimed Olympic Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt has run out of funding. This has led to hundreds of unusable bicycles and electric scooters being abandoned all over the US.
The expensive mini-electric vehicles can only be unlocked by navigating the mobile app which was developed for that purpose. However the application has now become obsolete and with the abrupt discontinuation of operations of Bolt Mobility in eight cities in the US, the vehicles have been abandoned.
According to TechCrunch, the places which have abandoned vehicles are Vermont, Virginia; Richmond, Portland, South Burlington and Winooski, Florida; Richmond, Oregon; St. Augustine, California; and Burlington.
Robert Goulding of Burlington’s public work departments divulged to the New York Post that all of their contacts at the company, Bolt, (including the CEO) “have gone radio silent and have not replied to our emails.”
Similarly, Mayor Tom Butt of Richmond California wrote back in July that Bolt Mobility shut down without any notice “or removal of their capital equipment from city property.” He further mentioned that “the City is coming up with a plan”, to get the abandoned equipment removed.
According to data from Crunchbase, when the company was co-founded by Bolt (with the mission statement to “revolutionize transportation through safe, smart and sustainable transit solutions”) it had at that time raised over $40 million in donations from investors.
There was a notice made on the company website that stated that Bolt Mobility was forced to considerably “scale back operations” on Thursday, June 30, after investors were unable to produce the anticipated fundraising.
This is the reason for the seizure of operations in the named cities. However, other self-sufficient owners of Bolt-branded operations continue to operate in 25 separate markets.
Electrek reported that Element LEV (manufacturer of Bolt Mobility e-bikes) is coordinating with local governments to repossess the vehicles so that they can be restored in due course.
The eight-time Olympic gold medalist visited New York City to promote the Bolt Scooter in 2019, where he posed to take pictures in front of City Hall and tried to persuade local politicians to authorize the use of e-scooters.
At the time, Bolt commented that whenever he is late, people always ask why he doesn’t just run, “so now I actually have the Bolt scooter to get there quicker.”
The ‘Bolt’ name is also shared with an American company that deals in payments and an Estonian transportation company. Despite his efforts, Bolt’s scooters were not among those permitted to participate in New York City’s shared electric scooter trial in 2021. The three rivals that were granted the license instead of Bolt are; Veo, Bird, and Lime. The Department of Transportation allowed the companies to operate shared scooters in several Bronx neighborhoods.
Watch the video of the showcase below;