Bolt app founder meets Kenyan techies

Tuesday March 24 2020

Bolt app founder Markus Villig during a fireside chat with tech-investors and entrepreneurs in Kenya on March 12, 2020 PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Taxi-hailing app Bolt founder Markus Villig shrugged off coronavirus fears to visit Kenya for a meeting with the East African tech community at Nairobi’s iHub.

Mr Villig, who heads the Sh114 billion company that has a presence in 37 countries, including seven in Africa, urged tech start-ups to come up with affordable software products that solve local problems.

“The future is tech-based, affordable and local. Bolt looks at building partnerships with drivers, authorities and customers. For you to succeed, look within for problems that generate a commercial opportunity,” the 26-year-old billionaire said on Thursday March 12.

Tech start-up founders, he said, should concentrate more on developing products that give value to consumers away from running multimillion-shilling campaigns that drive uptake but consumers slip away after some time when they fail to offer value, access and convenience.

He said his strategy for the Kenyan market was to build partnerships with other businesses that enhance the safety of riders and drivers as well as giving better commissions to their 25,000 drivers.

The Estonian said start-ups must keep their budgets low and source development funds from immediate families.


The firm will consider introducing food-delivery services in Nairobi as it has the city covered round the clock, he said.

Bolt business development teams are also looking at retail outlets’ integration that would see them automate client-purchase and delivery modules based on payment-driven purchases.