Bolt will invest Sh13.4 billion (100 million euros) in its Kenyan subsidiary to expand its services beyond the 16 towns it operates.
The allocation by the Estonian-based digital ride-hailing firm represents 20 percent of Sh66.8 billion (500 million euros) that it will invest in its operations in Africa over the next two years.
The investment is set to intensify the mounting competition in the industry, which has seen operators expand their geographical reach across the country while adding new transport services under their platforms.
“Bolt shall double down on increasing its footprint across Kenya by expanding its services into more cities and town centres. This will provide access to affordable and quality services to customers whilst providing earning opportunities for drivers in Kenya,” said Bolt Kenya country manager Linda Ndung’u on Monday.
Bolt is the largest ride-hailing service provider in terms of towns, with its services available in 16 towns, including Kakamega, Nakuru, Naivasha, Eldoret, Kitale, Nyeri, Meru, Embu, Nanyuki, Karatina, Kilifi and Malindi.
Uber, operating in Nairobi, Thika, Mombasa and Nakuru, expanded to five other towns -- Kisumu, Eldoret, Naivasha, Elementaita and Gilgil in June last year.
Little has operations in Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, Eldoret, and Nyeri.
Other players are Wasili, which dominates Nakuru, and new entrants such as Farasi Cabs and Yego Global.
The companies hail various transport services, including taxis, tuk-tuk and boda boda rides.
Bolt recently introduced its corporate travel arm – Bolt Business– a space largely controlled by Little, in addition to its existing Bolt Food delivery service.
The firm operates ride-hailing and delivery services in six African countries – Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania and Tunisia - with over 47 million customers and 900,000 drivers on the platform.
“The funds will be used to expand Bolt services in Africa and create opportunities for over 300,000 new drivers and couriers to join the platform in 2023,” Bolt said in a statement.