Case Study

Bolt chooses treasury efficiency in scale-up of business 

Revolutionizing Bolt’s Treasury: Efficiency, Reliability, and Growth

Mid 2023, Bolt successfully implemented its new full-fledged treasury management system (TMS). With assistance of Zanders consultants, the mobility company implemented Kyriba – a necessity to support Bolt’s small treasury team. As a result, all daily processes are almost completely automated. “It's about reliability.”

Bolt is the leading European mobility platform that’s focused on more efficient, convenient and sustainable solutions for urban travelling. With more than 150 million customers in at least 45 countries, it offers a range of mobility services including ride-hailing, shared cars and scooters, food and grocery delivery. “Bolt was founded by Markus Villig, a young Estonian guy who quit his school to start this business with €5,000 that he borrowed from his parents,” says Mahmoud Iskandarani, Group Treasurer at Bolt. “He built an app and started to ask drivers on the street to download it and try it out. Now we have millions of drivers and passengers, almost 4,000 employees and several business lines. Last August, we celebrated our 10th anniversary. So, we have one of the fastest growing businesses in Europe. And our ambition is to grow even faster than so far.” 

Driven by technology 

Because of its fast growth, Bolt’s Treasury team decided to look for a scalable solution to cope with the further expansion of the business. Freek van den Engel, Treasury manager at Bolt: “We needed a system that could automate most of our daily processes and add value. Doing things manually is not efficient and risks are high. To help us scale up while maintaining efficiency, we needed our Treasury to be driven by technology.” 

Iskandarani adds: “Meanwhile, our macro environment is changing and we had some bank events. In the past years, startups or scale-ups have seen big growth and didn't focus too much on working capital management. Interest rates were low, which made it easy to raise money from investors. Now, we need to make sure that we manage our working capital the right way so that we can access our money, mitigate risks, and that we get a decent return on our cash. That’s when it's controlled by Treasury and invested correctly.” 

Choosing Kyriba

Van den Engel led a treasury system selection process three years ago for his previous employer, where he also worked together with Iskandarani. “That experience helped us to come up with a shortlist of three providers, instead of having a very long RfP process looking at a long list of vendors. We started the selection process in June 2022 and two months later we chose Kyriba because of its strong functionality. Also, it’s a solution offered as SaaS, which means we don't have to worry about upgrades – a very important reason for us. Kyriba has been working with tech companies similar to ours. Another decisive factor was their format library, called Open Format Studio. It allows us to use self-service when it comes to configuring payment formats, reducing our costs and turn-around time when expanding to new geographies.” 

Implementation partner 

For Bolt, Kyriba will function as in-house bank system, and support its European cash pool. During the selection process, the team had some reference calls with other Kyriba users to discuss experiences with the system and the implementation. “One piece of feedback we received was that it works very well to bring in implementation partners to complete such a project successfully. Zanders stood out, because of its proven track record and the awards it had won. Also, Mahmoud and I both had experience with Zanders during some projects at our previous employer. That’s why we asked them to be our implementation partner.” 

In October 2022, the implementation process started. In July 2023, the system went live. Kyriba’s TMS solution covered all treasury core processes, including cash position reporting (including intra-day balance information), liquidity management, funding, foreign exchange with automatic integration to 360T and Finastra, investments, payment settlements and risk management.  

Trained towards independency 

As part of the implementation process, Zanders trained Bolt on how to use the new tool, and assisted in using the Open Format Studio. In this way, the team built the knowledge and experience needed to roll out to new countries more independently.  

Van den Engel: “We aimed to be independent and do as much as possible ourselves to reduce costs and build up in-house expertise on the system. Zanders helped us figuring out what we wanted, explained and guided us, and showed what the system can do and how to align that with our needs in the best possible way. Once we were clear on the blueprint, they helped us with our static data, connectivity and initial system set-up. After the training they led, we were able to do most of it ourselves, including the actual system configuration work, for which Zanders had laid the foundation.” 

Rolling out the payment hub 

With assistance of Zanders consultants, Bolt also set up a framework to roll out the payment hub, for the vendor payments from its ERP system called Workday and its payroll provider, Immedis. The consultants assisted with configuration of initial payment scenarios and workflows. “We made the connections, tested them and did a pilot with Workday last summer. After training and with the experience that we've built up using Open Format Studio, we can roll out to new countries and expand it ourselves. Starting in August, we continued to roll out Kyriba’s payment hub to more countries, and to implement Payroll. With the payment hub we are now live in 16 countries and that's basically fully self-serviced. Apart from some support for specialized cases, we don’t need support anymore for the payment hub.” 

Many material benefits 

Having a small hands-on project team meant no need for a complex project management organization to be set-up. Naturally Bolt and Zanders started using agile project management, with refocus of priorities to different streams as necessary. The Kyriba implementation project was closed within the set budget in 9 months’ time.  

Iskandarani is happy with the results. “It is clear there are benefits of this implementation when it comes to efficiency and risk management. We now have the visibility over our cash and the fact that we have a system telling us that there’s an exposure that we should get rid of, that has a lot of value. Also, we have some financial benefits that we could not have achieved without the system. Today we can pool our cash better, we can invest it better, and we can handle our foreign exchange in a better way. Before this, we have overpaid banks.” 

Reliability and control 

“We could have hired more people”, Van den Engel adds. “But some things are just very difficult to do without this system. It's also about reliability. Even if you have a manual process in place that works, you will see it breaking down from time to time. If someone deletes a formula, or a macro stops working, that becomes very risky. It’s also about the control environment. As a company we're looking to become more mature and implement controls that should be there – that too is very difficult to do without a proper system that can generate these reports, be properly secured with all the right standards that we need to adhere to, or do fraud detection based on machine learning in the future. It's impossible to do all that manually. Those are material benefits, but hard to quantify.”

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