At Bolt, treasury takes a ride on technology

VIDEO | In 2022, Estonia-based mobility company Bolt raised €628 million in a funding round and was valued at €7.4 billion. That’s a lot of money to manage. Imagine trying to do it without a treasury, and adding the complexity of requiring real-time updates of a constantly changing cash position to the equation. At the recent Treasury 360° Nordic conference, Mahmoud Iskandarani and Freek van den Engel shared how they built a treasury for one of Europe’s fastest growing tech start-ups.

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When Mahmoud Iskandarani joined Bolt as Group Treasurer in 2020, one of the first things he did was to put together a small treasury team of three. Freek van den Engel, Treasury Manager, joined him on stage at Malmö.

“We started with a clear, strong vision: a treasury that is driven by technology,” says Mahmoud Iskandarani. He foresaw that technology was going to be indispensable to Bolt’s treasury due to the nature of its business and its rapid expansion.

Complicated business

Bolt has five core products: Rides, the ride hailing business; Drive, for car rentals; Rentals, offering electric scooter rentals in cities; Delivery, for restaurant takeaway deliveries; and Market, for grocery delivery. Each business area has a different business model with different terms for getting payments and giving payouts, but all require high working capital. Adding to the complexity are the diverse payment methods Bolt accepts, which include card, cash and Paypal.

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A “live” action drama

Good cash management is important to most companies; for Bolt, it’s crucial – so crucial that the information must be real-time. This need has exacerbated recently with the implementation of on-demand payout, which allows vendors on the Bolt app, such as drivers, to request for immediate payment at the click of a button.

“It’s great commercially, but a lot of challenge for the treasury,” says Freek van den Engel. “We don’t know how many drivers will request for payment at any one time. They could also do it at night, and we wouldn’t know about it until the next day.” The only way to keep up was to build a function for real-time updates.

Small and agile

“We needed to be effective and efficient in a very small team. We were looking for systems that could help us automate our daily processes as much as possible but at the same time allow us to remain agile. Bolt is a growing company and could expand very quickly and unexpectedly, so the treasury needs to be able to follow the business, move quickly with it, yet keep costs low.”

Find out the details of how Mahmoud Iskandarani and Freek van den Engel did it in this video of their session.

Mahmoud Iskandarani is Group Treasurer, Bolt, and
Freek van den Engel is Treasury Manager, Bolt.

 

• News around Treasury 360° Nordic 2023, on 20 April, is gathered here.
• The conference info site, with detailed agenda, is here.
• For post-event access to recorded sessions, our video list will grow here.
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