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Throwback Thursday: Bolt Mobility: The Race to Nowhere – No Golds, No Glory

Derek Watson
Derek Watson
N2 Throwback Thursday Bold Mobility

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Throwback Thursday: Bolt Mobility: The Race to Nowhere - No Golds, No Glory

It’s Throwback Thursday, and today we’re taking a look at Bolt Mobility: The Race to Nowhere – No Golds, No Glory.

Bolt Mobility was a Miami-based micromobility startup that aimed to revolutionize transportation through safe, smart, and sustainable transit solutions. Co-founded by Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt, Kamyar Kaviani, Sarah Haynes and CEO Ignacio Tzoumas, the company caught the attention of many with its ambitious goals and innovative approach. Tzoumas brought over two decades of financial experience and expertise to the company and his focus on cost-effective, sustainable transportation for underserved communities has been instrumental in the company’s continued expansion. Despite a strong start, the company abruptly shut its doors earlier this year, leaving cities with abandoned equipment and unanswered calls. So, what went wrong?

Usain Bolt

co-founder and global ambassador

Usain Bolt, the world's fastest man, is a co-founder and brand ambassador for Bolt Mobility. He's a nine-time Olympic gold medalist and passionate about providing safe, affordable transportation for all. He's actively involved in the innovation process and also a philanthropist, who through his foundation, creates opportunities for education and cultural development. He's also a successful entrepreneur with partnerships with Puma, Hublot, and his own restaurant, Usain Bolt's Tracks & Records, shaving company Champion Shave. Usain has transitioned from the sporting world to become a business leader.

Ignacio Tzoumas


Ignacio Tzoumas is the CEO of Bolt Mobility, responsible for the company's management, strategic growth, and commitment to sustainability, access, and community partnership. He has over two decades of financial experience and expertise, and is known for his focus on cost-effective, sustainable transportation for underserved communities. He has extensive experience launching public-private partnerships and has held leadership positions in hedge funds, trading firms and CFO at Edison Group. He is also an active angel investor and mentor for start-up founders and fluent in Spanish.

Kamyar Kaviani


Kamyar Kaviani is the Co-Founder and Chief Operations Officer of Bolt Mobility. He has years of experience in the technology space as a former CEO of multiple STEM companies including HyperOffice, HTR, and Saba. He is also the Chairman of Corporation and executive chairman of Breezio, Inc. Kamyar uses Internship programs to educate and develop future leaders in technology. He has fostered over 500 interns who are now active contributors to the STEM industry. He has brought his talent for leadership and innovation to Bolt to create partnerships with cities to provide safe, environmentally friendly transportation.

Dr. Sarah B. Haynes

CO-CEO, Chairwoman & CO-Founder

Sarah Haynes is the Co-founder, Co-CEO, and Chairwoman of Bolt Mobility. She has over 25 years of experience in business and program development, philanthropy, business strategy, human resources operations, and executive coaching. She is an award-winning leader with a deep understanding of how people interact and is skilled in developing and retaining talent. Her expertise includes micromobility transportation, business development, venture capital, behavioral health, and collaborative consumption. Sarah holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and has multiple certifications from Universities including Georgetown, Berkeley, and Maryland. She has a track record of developing and operating successful businesses and is experienced in risk management and leadership development.


Usain Bolt, the most famous of the three co-founders, is a Jamaican retired sprinter who is considered one of the greatest sprinters of all time. He holds the world record in the 100 metres, 200 metres, and 4 × 100 metres relay. Bolt is the first athlete to win six Olympic gold medals in sprinting, and an eight-time World champion. He is considered one of the most marketable athletes in the world, and has endorsement deals with several major brands. Kamyar Kaviani, brings experience in technology and transportation as an entrepreneur and business leader. Sarah Haynes, brings experience in urban mobility and micromobility as a transportation planner. Bolt Mobility has raised a total of $41.4M in funding over 5 rounds. Their latest funding was raised on Mar 4, 2022 from a Corporate Round round.

What problem did Bolt Mobility set out to solve:

Bolt Mobility set out to solve the problem of traffic congestion, parking congestion, and carbon footprint impact in cities. The company aimed to provide a smart, safe, and sustainable alternative to traditional transportation methods, such as cars and buses, by focusing on micromobility options such as e-bikes and scooters.

Timeline of events:

2018, Bolt Mobility was founded with the goal of redesigning city mobility around the world.

2019, Bolt Mobility transitioned from operating all of its own markets to providing a superior technological platform that enabled independent owners/operators in each market to run day-to-day operations.
In January 2021, Bolt Mobility acquired the assets of Last Mile Holdings, opening up 48 new markets for the company.
2022, Bolt Mobility experienced financial difficulties with equity investors, forcing the company to significantly scale back operations.
On June 30, 2022, Bolt Mobility halted operations in several markets and failed to provide clear communication to cities and customers about the shutdown.

What worked and what didn't:

One of the key strengths of Bolt Mobility was the involvement of Usain Bolt, a globally recognized and respected athlete, as a co-founder. His name alone helped to generate significant buzz and attract attention to the company and its mission. Many saw his involvement as a sign of the company’s potential for success, and his marketability helped to generate interest and investment in the company. Additionally, his reputation as a champion athlete and role model brought credibility to the company’s focus on providing safe, smart and sustainable transportation solutions. Furthermore, one of the things that worked for Bolt Mobility was its innovative approach to micromobility and its ability to expand quickly into new markets through acquisitions. However, despite the advantages of having a well-known figure like Usain Bolt on board, the company ultimately struggled to overcome the financial and communication challenges that led to its downfall.

The Results Analysis:

The downfall of Bolt Mobility was a harsh wake-up call for the startup world. Even with a world-renowned Olympic gold medalist at the helm and a mission to revolutionize transportation, the company ultimately couldn’t escape the brutal realities of the business world.
One of the major missteps that led to Bolt Mobility’s downfall was their lack of financial stability. As a startup, it’s crucial to have a solid plan in place for funding and to be transparent about any financial difficulties to prevent an unexpected shutdown. But, it’s not just about the money – it’s also about being prepared for the unexpected. Without a contingency plan, even the most promising startups can be caught off guard by unforeseen challenges.
Another major issue was their lack of clear communication during the shutdown. Leaving cities with abandoned equipment and frustrated customers, the company’s lack of transparency added to the confusion and disappointment of the situation. Clear and open communication is crucial in any business, but especially in startups where trust and credibility are everything.

Conclusion and takeaway for Startup founders:

The story of Bolt Mobility serves as a cautionary tale for startup founders everywhere. It’s a reminder that while ambitious goals and innovative ideas are important, they must be backed by solid financial planning and transparent communication in order to succeed. As a startup founder, it’s important to have a contingency plan in place for unexpected challenges and to be upfront about any financial difficulties to avoid a similar fate.

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