Company aims to build a global people-powered transport network.
London/Paris - BlaBlaCar, the world’s largest long-distance ride-sharing network, today announces a $100 million Series C investment round led by Index Ventures, with the participation of existing investors Accel Partners, ISAI and Lead Edge Capital, to connect cities globally.
With over 8 million members in 12 countries, the Paris-headquartered company has created a new way to travel from city to city based on wasted capacity in cars – i.e. empty seats – providing an alternative to trains, planes and long haul coaches. By matching people looking to travel long distances with drivers seeking to share the cost of their journeys, BlaBlaCar is at the forefront of a worldwide sharing economy revolution, making ground transport more efficient and affordable.
The service has seen strong growth due to the ever-increasing cost of owning and driving a car, especially for long trips. Every month, more than 1 million BlaBlaCar members share journeys, representing year-on-year growth of over 200%. For the typical journey of 200 miles, drivers offer seats at less than £16 (€19/$25) on average, covering part of their motoring costs, while passengers travel at prices that are three times lower on average than any other alternative.
Already well-entrenched across Europe, the company will use the investment to expand into new markets, said CEO Frédéric Mazzella. “Since founding the company, we have shaken up the long distance travel market in Europe and built an active and loyal community. This investment will help us accelerate to build a trusted people-powered transport network right across the globe.”
Since its last financing round of $10m in early 2012, BlaBlaCar has expanded from France into 11 countries and made three acquisitions. With each major new market entry, uptake has accelerated. Its latest new territory, Russia, for example, saw over 250,000 new verified members in the first quarter of operation, while BlaBlaCar surpassed 1 million members one year after launch in Germany.
“Our very successful new market expansion demonstrates that BlaBlaCar is relevant on a global scale,” said Nicolas Brusson, COO. “This $100 million round provides firepower for us to explore every large market in the world, where access to ground transport can be improved upon. We will continue to look for smart, local acqui-hires, as we build a brand with global reach and unrivalled on-the-ground operations.”
Index Ventures partner, Dominique Vidal, who will join the company’s board, said: “We are so excited to be partnering with Frédéric, Francis, Nicolas and the team, who are at a defining moment in their audacious quest to transform the way cities are connected all over the world. Index is a long-term supporter of marketplaces and this investment is our 27th in the space, reflecting the way social media is accelerating a peer-to-peer revolution, fundamentally reshaping the way we live, work and get around.”
Philippe Botteri, Partner at Accel Partners and board member, added: “While the market for short-distance ride sharing within cities is highly competitive, BlaBlaCar is addressing a completely different segment, namely long-distance travel -- and they have quickly become the global category leader.”
Jean-David Chamboredon, CEO of ISAI and board member, said, “We saw the potential of the BlaBlaCar network at the time of our investment in early 2010, but, even so, we probably underestimated just how massive the adoption would be among travellers. It has been fantastic to see how mainstream long distance ride sharing is becoming in the company’s markets of operation.”
An early pioneer of the sharing economy, BlaBlaCar was founded in 2006 by Frédéric Mazzella, CEO, Francis Nappez, CTO, and Nicolas Brusson, COO, and currently operates in Benelux, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, the Ukraine and the United Kingdom.
BlaBlaCar is a long-distance ride-sharing community that connects people looking to travel long distances with drivers making the same journey, so they can travel together and share the costs. Each passenger makes a contribution for their seat, and drivers cover their motoring costs but do not to make a profit. Every month, more than 1 million BlaBlaCar members share journeys of around 200 miles.
The web and mobile platform are engineered to create a secure, trust-based community with full member profiles and even a preference for members to specify how chatty they are, from “Bla” and “BlaBla” to “BlaBlaBla”, hence the name BlaBlaCar.
Published — July 2, 2014