Don`t drive long distances alone anymore with empty seats. Now, you can share your trip with passengers and best of all, cover your fuel costs. The price per seat and the number of seats you can offer are limited because BlaBlaCar is designed for drivers to offset their driving costs and not to make a profit.
Top carpooling routes are London-Manchester £15, Birmingham-Leeds £8 and London-Paris£24. It`s a third of the price of most trains, and much more convenient than buses.
The European ride-sharing app BlaBlaCar raised $100 million in venture funding, and that`s on of the largest venture investments in a French startup on record. According to Dow Jones VentureSource, Venture investors put $1,03 billion into French startups in 2013.
BlaBlaCar`s $100 million financing is nearly one-tenth of last year`s total. The music-streaming service Deezer I wrote about last week, raised $130 million in 2012. That`s two great French companies.
BlaBlaCar is founded in 2006, and their app lets travelers find divers heading where they need to go soon and connects them by mobile or email to arrange to share the ride. The average price for a seat is 16 U.K pounds ($25) or less. The fee partially covers the cost of fuel, tolls and other expenses.
The app suggests pricing so passengers and drivers don`t have to spend time haggling. The pricing feature has another purpose: prohibiting drivers from generating profits on the rides they give. This is distinct from apps that let users summon a driver on demand, such as Sidecar, UberX and Lyft, which all promote the idea that everyday drivers can make a living using their platforms.
You can rate passengers and drivers and review them like buyers and sellers do on the auction site eBay. Top-reviewed community members who have given or taken a lot of rides tend to draw a faster response when they use the app.
Accel is BlaBlaCar`s biggest shareholder, and they said that a startup raising $100 million will be expected to deliver a multibillion exit, and more important was the company`s ability to scale its business globally.
So far, they have grown in 11 new countries since 2012, and have about 150 full-time employees today. Most of the is based in Paris. According to their founders, they have increased their total registered users to 8 million from 1,5 million in a few years. 1 million users share rides each month via BlaBlaCar.
The service is available in France, Germany, Benelux, Spain, Russia, Portugal, Poland, Ukraine, U.K and Italy. They plan to use its funding to grow its business within the nations where it operates and expand to Turkey, Brazil and India.
BlaBlaCar has no plans to expand on the U.S market. Geography and topography make longer distance ridesharing less appealing, so the distance between U.S cities is so great that many travelers have to book a flight to reach their destination in time, Mazzella said.
BlaBlaCar`s competitiors is Carpooling.com GmbH in Germany and a younger startup in Ireland, which is Carma, and they are focusing on intracity trips.
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