Bolt Food turns 4! Meet the people behind the journey

Aug 1, 2023

Bolt Food birthday

4 years of hard work, 48 months of commitment, 1,460 days of dedication, and 35,040 hours of consistent effort — these are the (very rounded!) numbers behind Bolt Food… so far. 

But Bolt Food is more than just a collection of numbers and statistics. Every on-time delivery involves a tonne of people to execute. 

Today, as we celebrate turning another year old, we’re shining a well-deserved spotlight on some of the individuals who make Bolt Food what it is.

From the first employees who joined the mission to the restaurant partners who prepare your favourite food and delivery partners who bring it to your door — this story is about the people who power Bolt Food.

The Bolt Food story

In August 2019, there was a new buzz in the air. Bolt had diversified its service and moved into the food delivery sector.

Some people found it hard to link the concepts of transport and food delivery and were surprised by the move, but we had a secret weapon. A similar business model to ride-hailing and a loyal user base requesting a food delivery service for some time.

And with that, Bolt Food was born. 

But just as Bolt Food was taking its first steps and expanding beyond Estonia and into Europe and Africa, the world was rocked by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Global lockdowns caused people to stay home, restaurants to close down, and ride-hailing requests to decrease. 

While this resulted in financial difficulties for many, the demand for food delivery skyrocketed. And this became a key turning point for Bolt Food to expand its services worldwide.

Bolt Food was there to serve people in urgent need of food. It helped thousands of businesses stay open and continue to sell. And also gave our partner drivers a much-needed earning opportunity when individual finances were under pressure like never before.

After a couple of years, and to further accommodate people’s needs, we launched our fifth product in July 2021— Bolt Market — an on-demand online store offering everything from fresh produce to household essentials.

Today, Bolt Food operates in multiple cities and countries across Europe and Africa. It’s been a challenging journey, but thanks to our team, partners and loyal users, we’ve achieved great success. 

Bolt Food Timeline

And with an incredible team like ours, we won’t be slowing down anytime soon!

The Bolt Food team

Bolt’s rapid growth and expansion weren’t only due to the market demand. The people behind the scenes who make it all happen deserve much of the credit. 

It’s their hard work, dedication, and passion that have driven the success of the company.

And now, it’s time to bring some of them to the main stage and hear their stories.

Denis Ivanov 

Denis Ivanov Bolt Food

Denis is the Group Product Manager for Bolt Market and one of the key contributors behind Bolt Food’s success. 

His current official title only partially captures the breadth and depth of his impact. In fact, he was part of the company even before Bolt Food came into existence. Initially, he was a Product Manager for one of the ride-hailing teams.

Denis told us that working on a new product from scratch wasn’t always a smooth journey.

“Today, Bolt Food has its own team, but back then, I had to ‘steal’ resources from the rides team to build what Bolt Food is today. 

Although everyone was willing to assist, some were already overloaded with tasks, making it challenging to get the necessary support from teams where Bolt Food was lacking competencies.”

Despite facing limited resources, Denis still contributed to the successful development of a new product by leveraging existing talent from other teams.

Looking back on his time with the company, Denis says that most of the experiences were positive (yes, even the challenging ones!). However, there’s one particular memory that stands out above the rest. 

“In the beginning, I used Bolt Food heavily to identify areas for improvement. I was constantly finding things that needed to be fixed. 

But one day, I stopped doing it altogether because I realised that I didn’t need to micromanage anymore. I built a team that had taken ownership, and everything was running smoothly. 

It’s satisfying to identify and fix inefficiencies, but nothing beats the feeling of stepping back and seeing that the team is crushing it without you having to be on top of every little thing.”

After playing a vital role in the success of Bolt Food, Denis set his sights on a new challenge — helping to build and grow Bolt Market. By the way, his home task during the hiring process revolved around grocery delivery. Interesting coincidence, or what?

Today, as the Group Product Manager for Bolt Market, he oversees teams across various countries and domains. Thanks to Denis, we ensure that every project and product-related task is completed on time and with maximum effectiveness.

“At Bolt, everyone can make an impact and be heard, rather than just blending in with the crowd. That’s what I like about working here.” 

Pavel Zubarev 

Imagine this; you’re only two weeks into your Bolt journey when you’re suddenly presented with a unique challenge — leading the product design of not just one, but three products from scratch in less than six months. 

We’re talking about the Bolt Food app, the Courier app and the Restaurant app.

On top of that, he was also assisting with the landing page, designing the brand logo, and delivery bag designs.

Yes, that’s how the story of Pavel, our Product Design Manager, and Bolt Food started. 

And keep in mind that Pavel was not leading a large team of designers. He was the only one on the design team responsible for creating the entire user experience for Bolt Food users, couriers, restaurant partners, and the website.

So, how did he react when presented with such a daunting request? 

“I knew it was an incredibly challenging task. I even wondered if it was achievable. But I firmly believe in focusing on making things happen rather than worrying about whether they will happen or not.”

The project gained speed at an astonishing pace as if Pavel and the team were in a race against time. 

Our management doesn’t possess the mystical power to have predicted the approaching pandemic. So what was all the rush about? 

“We didn’t face a lot of competition back then. Entering a market with fewer competitors is comparatively less expensive than entering during a time of intense competition.”

Pavel Zubarev Bolt Food

At this point, you might think things couldn’t get any crazier, right? 

Enter the COVID era. With revenue from ride-hailing taking a hit, Pavel and the Bolt Food team were challenged once more to deliver yet another service — business delivery. 

And believe it or not, they pulled it off in just six days!

According to Pavel, the real work starts after the products are launched. That’s when the actual feedback starts pouring in, and the team kicks into high gear, swiftly addressing any issues. 

After hearing all these stories, it’s only natural to wonder how Pavel managed to handle the immense pressure and demands that came with these projects. 

“It’s crucial to understand that this isn’t a sprint, nor is it a marathon, but rather a journey. That’s why, when there aren’t any urgent matters, as the workday comes to an end, I do my best to switch off from ‘work mode’ and dedicate quality time to my family.”

Now, as a seasoned veteran and leader of a team of talented designers, Pavel takes it upon himself to guide his colleagues in managing their workload effectively.

“I encourage my team to log off at the end of the workday, support them in improving their time management skills, and inspire them to run their day-to-day activities as efficiently as possible”.

Thanks to Pavel’s tireless efforts, we now have an incredible suite of apps that form the Bolt Food family. And there are even more exciting developments on the horizon! 

While Pavel couldn’t reveal all the juicy details just yet, he promised he’d bring these exciting additions to the app soon.

And based on what we’ve seen of Pavel’s incredible ability to deliver under pressure, we’ve no doubt that these additions will soon be available for our users to enjoy.

Liia Palipea

Once you become a Bolt employee, you’ll always stay a valued team member. 

While people may come and go, what remains is the influence and impact they leave on our culture and team.

And when it comes to Liia, our former Head of Delivery Marketing, her impact and contributions have had a lasting impact on Bolt Food.

Liia joined Bolt Food as our very first marketing team member, bringing a wealth of experience from her own marketing agency. 

However, as her agency grew, she became increasingly caught up in managerial tasks, longing for a more hands-on role. 

“I wanted to help businesses expand globally and make a tangible impact. So, I started looking for job opportunities on LinkedIn, and the very first thing I saw was Bolt Food looking for a marketing manager.”

It was great timing as Liia’s aspirations aligned with our needs, and from that point forward, her journey with Bolt Food began!

As if being Bolt Food’s first and only marketing person wasn’t already an adventure, Liia’s journey took a wild turn when the pandemic hit and demand for food delivery services exploded across the globe.

“We were growing at lightning speed, expanding into new countries almost every week, when our original plan was to launch in only three new markets per quarter. 

It was such a wild ride that I even have a calendar with all the dates marked to celebrate the anniversaries of each market launch!”

Her role quickly evolved from regular marketing tasks to crafting global-scale strategies. 

She was now responsible for planning numerous marketing activities in new markets, evaluating performance across different countries, and managing global budgets.

“As a marketer, the most challenging part for me was juggling multiple tasks with limited resources. The startup world is about figuring out what’s essential, what can be compromised and making tough decisions to drive success. It’s a constant process of maximising what we have while striving for growth.”

But Bolt Food was about more than just work for Liia. She has many cherished memories that she truly misses.

“We had wonderful traditions that brought the team closer together. Starting our mornings with a casual coffee session or gathering for a monthly beer. It was a chance to connect as a team and share stories beyond work.”

At the end of the interview, Liia reflected on her time at Bolt Food and described it as a truly transformative experience.

“The experience of working on a global scale, growing the business, and pushing my boundaries helped me gain tremendous self-belief. 

That’s the beauty of Bolt — it provides you with chances to grow and achieve great things if you have ambition and determination.”

We’re grateful to have had you on our team, Liia. Wishing you all the best in your future endeavours! 

Bolt Food partners

What would Bolt Food be without its partner restaurants preparing delicious food or courier partners delivering them?

Courier partners

Rain or shine, day or night, our courier partners do everything they can to deliver orders on time.

Let’s hear directly from one of our wonderful courier partners — Ona Adamavičiūtė.

Ona discovered Bolt Food as soon as it launched in Lithuania. She saw it as an excellent opportunity to earn extra income and indulge in her passion for driving.

Today, she devotes even more time to Bolt Food deliveries as she finds it financially rewarding.

As a delivery courier, Ona encounters a variety of people and situations. From humorous incidents to heartwarming moments, she has countless anecdotes to share.

“Once, while delivering food to the suburbs, I had an issue with an incorrect address. Trying to find the right house was a bit annoying, but eventually, I found the customer—a lovely senior lady who apologised for her mistake. 

She explained that it was her first time using the app, and she was really craving a burger. Her sweetness and sincerity instantly turned my frustration into a smile.”

Another enjoyable aspect of the job is when children or pets excitedly greet her at the door during food deliveries. Sometimes, she even has to help guide curious pets who try to explore outside after taking advantage of an open door situation.

In the end, Ona shares what motivates her to continue delivering with Bolt Food.

“I’m thrilled to always be on the move — picking up the food or taking the stairs makes me feel energised and healthy. It’s also a great opportunity to experience and enjoy the different cycles of the day — from early morning to late evening. Sometimes I even find it romantic.” 

Huge thanks to Ona and all the exceptional courier partners who go above and beyond every day! We’re incredibly grateful for the positive experiences you provide for our users.

Partner restaurants

They’re the main reason you open the Bolt Food app in the first place. Yes, we’re talking about our fantastic partner restaurants.

We’re proud to have a diverse range of restaurants — from Italian-style eateries to Asian cuisines and everything in between.

The fact that such great restaurants have chosen to sell their cuisines using Bolt Food, allowing us to showcase their delicious offerings, makes us truly happy!

Meet the team behind one of our favourite partners in Estonia — Nuudel. Their delicious Thai fare is a clear favourite among our Tallinn Bolt Food users.

Nuudel Team

“We immediately expressed our interest in teaming up with Bolt Food, from day one. We’re very pleased with the fast communication and support from the team.”

We’d like to thank Nuudel and all the remarkable restaurants around the globe who’ve placed their trust in Bolt Food! 

Thanks for a delicious journey!  

The individuals we’ve highlighted here are just a fraction of our incredible internal team and valued external partners. We sincerely appreciate each of you!

Finally, to our dear customers — you’re at the heart of all we do. Your trust, support and loyalty is what has inspired this journey, and is what keeps us motivated today.

We look forward to many more delicious adventures ahead!

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