French car sharing startup BlaBlaCar has secured £100m (£58m) in funding, which is hoped can take the business to the next level, expanding to other European countries and elsewhere.
BlaBlaCar was founded in 2006 as a “trusted community marketplace”, which aims to connect drivers with an empty seat and travellers who need a ride throughout Europe.
Four venture capital firms, Accel Partners, ISAI and Lead Edge Capital and Index Ventures, have provided the company with £58m funding, which is said it could potentially expand the business elsewhere outside Europe, for instance Russia, Brazil and other emerging markets.
Jean-David Chamboredon, CEO of ISAI, 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.”
The service has about 8 million users in 12 countries and carries an estimated 1 million passengers every month. It says it makes travelling more social and cheaper and it calculates it also saves around 700,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2).
Nicolas Brusson, chief operating officer at BlaBlaCar, said, “We found it grew slowly and surely in France. But the adoption and growth rate in countries like Russia has become faster and faster. In the emerging markets you’re creating something. You don’t just add a new, competing transport network but are building one where there is nothing.
“This £58m round provides firepower for us to explore every large market in the world, where access to ground transport can be improved upon.”
Photo: MSVG via flickr