Bolt Mobility leaves several U.S. markets

In a not-so-surprising update, Uber continues to report net losses while passengers continue to use Uber despite high inflation, giving shares a 19% boost. Also in the news this week is the fact that Bolt Mobility (known primarily for ebikes) has pulled out of several U.S. markets. Sit tight for more in this week’s roundup with senior RSG contributor Paula Lemar.

Bolt Mobility has vanished, leaving e-bikes, unanswered calls behind in several US cities (Tech Crunch)

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

In some cases, the departure has been abrupt, leaving cities with abandoned equipment, unanswered calls and emails, and lots of questions.

Bolt has stopped operating in at least eight U.S. cities, including Portland, Oregon, Burlington, South Burlington and Winooski in Vermont, Richmond, California and Richmond, Virginia, and St. Augustine, Florida according to city officials. Some city representatives also said they were unable to reach anyone at Bolt, including its CEO Ignacio Tzoumas….

My Take: Last we knew, Bolt Mobility was on the rise and doing great. What happened? It seems like no one really knows for certain. Bolt reps have not returned emails or phone calls and there’s equipment left behind in some of these cities that received no notice (or notice after the fact) of the company cutting out of town.

It sounds like even the CEO has gone quiet, leaving these towns unsure of what to do next. Will the company come around to collect their left-behind equipment, or is this now an added expense these cities will have to undertake to get rid of the excess?

However you slice it, this does not seem like it was handled very well at all.

Uber reports another big loss but beats on revenue, shares pop 19% (CNBC)

Summary: Uber reported a second-quarter loss on Tuesday but beat analyst estimates for revenue and posted $382 million in free cash flow for the first time ever.

Shares of Uber closed the day up 18.9%.

Here are the key numbers:

Loss per share: $1.33, not comparable to estimates.

Revenue: $8.07 billion vs. $7.39 billion estimated, according to a Refinitiv survey of analysts.

The company reported a net loss of $2.6 billion for the second quarter, $1.7 billion of which was attributed to investments and a revaluation of stakes in Aurora, Grab and Zomato. 

But CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a prepared statement that Uber continues to benefit from an increase in on-demand transportation and a shift in spending from retail to services….

My Take: It’s no surprise that Uber continues to report losses. I don’t think anyone expects anything different from that anytime soon. It’s been this way for years already.

Our readers on Facebook had something to say.

Don stated:

“Let me see if I get this right. Company continues to lose big $$$$$ quarter after quarter … year after year ….. & the leaders of this corp are compensated millions while drivers own the assets & are the assets that the corp can not exist without. Am I missing something?”

“I’d like it back to when it was 80/20 split and we actually got most of the surge,” said Bill.

And Gary maintains that, “Uber and Lyft are just trying to hold out for self-driving cars, so that they can cut drivers out completely.”

Gorillas Explores Options, Weighed Deals With Delivery Rivals (Bloomberg)

Summary: Gorillas Technologies GmbH, seeking to navigate a sudden shift in the startup funding environment, met with competitors in the rapid delivery industry to discuss the prospects for mergers or the sale of its business, people familiar with the talks said.

Representatives for the German startup spoke with multiple companies, including Gopuff and Jokr, about a possible deal, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. Some of those conversations took place in the last several weeks. Gorillas is working with advisers from JPMorgan Chase & Co. to evaluate options, some of the people said.

The talks were exploratory, and it’s possible no transaction materializes. But they underscore the challenges facing all startups this year as venture capitalists put many investments on hold over fears of an economic recession. The problem is especially acute for the young class of delivery startups that amassed customers but rapidly burned capital by promising groceries at your doorstep within minutes.

Representatives for Jokr, JPMorgan, Gorillas and Gopuff declined to comment….

My Take: I think this is going to be happening a lot. The pandemic created a boom for these types of startups, focusing on fast delivery. But now that shutdowns aren’t the norm, and people feel more comfortable going out and about, these services aren’t as needed.

People are more willing to wait a little longer if it’s cheaper. Or they’ll do their own shopping so they are certain to get the right items. What was once deemed a necessity is now going back to being a luxury. And once something is considered a luxury, the customer base decreases significantly.

I think it makes sense for most of these startups to enter into deals with each other or buy each other out. There’s not as much need for a vast pool of competition. It’s time to join forces to create one or two strong options. That’s all customers really need.

Also in the news…

Gig Workers Are Losing Their Hard-Won Rights (Wired)

Thoughts: This is important to read, in my opinion. It’s a matter of industry trends versus what’s considered the right thing to do as a business. It’s a balance of maintaining the morals and values you want to uphold versus what is feasible in the present day.

Uber receipts are crashing Microsoft Outlook (Engadget)

Thoughts: This just tickles me a little bit. I’m sure it’s been resolved, but I always think these things are a bit funny, though I do feel bad for the IT people who likely had to do a mad scramble trying to fix it.

Travis Kalanick’s Right-Hand Man Tells the Story of the Coup that Brought Them Down (w/Emil Michael) (Newcomer)

Thoughts: Highly recommend checking out this podcast. It’s very informative and interesting all around.

Did you listen to the podcast? What did you think? Also, check out part of Harry’s recent interview with Dara here.

-Paula @ RSG