BlaBlaCar announces a $115M funding to boost its growth ambitions

BlaBlaCar announces a $115M funding to boost its growth ambitions

BlaBlaCar announced today that it has raised $115M (€97M) to support its growth strategy, as it plans to expand its lead. BlaBlaCar showed strong resilience throughout the Covid-19 crisis, offering a travel solution better suited to the constraints of the crisis and benefitting from a more agile, fast-adjusting travel network. BlaBlaCar gained market-share across its markets, and is well positioned to respond to evolving travellers’ needs in the post-crisis new norm. The platform also announces the acquisition of Ukrainian company Octobus as part of its plan to foster the digitalisation of bus operators outside of Europe.

Tuesday 20th April 2021 – BlaBlaCar announced today that it has raised $115M to accelerate its expansion strategy, as the platform witnesses double-digit growth in its markets outside of Europe, while expecting a strong travel rebound in Europe this summer.

The new round of funding includes existing investor VNV Global, as well as new investors, namely:

  • Otiva J/F AB, an investment company created by Jonas Nordlander and Filip Engelbert, founders of Avito (the leading classified in Russia, acquired by Naspers for $4bn)
  • FMZ Ventures, a new growth fund dedicated to Experience Economy and marketplace ecosystems created by Michael Zeisser, former Chairman Investments at Alibaba Group who served on the boards of both Lyft and Tripadvisor.
The Covid-19 crisis has been a real test on the resilience of various models in the travel sector. The BlaBlaCar community-based model with a zero fixed-costs and flexible network came out as a clear winner. This additional funding strengthens our position and brings more firepower to deploy our offensive growth strategy
- Nicolas Brusson, co-Founder and CEO of BlaBlaCar

BlaBlaCar has grown from being the world’s leading carpooling community to becoming the go-to marketplace for shared travel, with over 90 million members travelling by carpool or long-distance buses across 22 markets. While the transport sector is still suffering from the impact of the crisis, BlaBlaCar is already renewing with growth outside of Europe which today represents well over half of its activity.

BlaBlaCar is witnessing double-digit growth in bookings for carpool and bus compared to pre-crisis levels in markets outside of Europe. The funding will support the platform’s fast growth in these markets and its ability to seize attractive M&A opportunities to lead the offline to online shift in ground transportation. Meanwhile in Europe, BlaBlaCar resilience over the past year, powered by the adaptability of its carpooling offer and a strong balance sheet, will enable it to double the size of its bus network over the coming 18 months, and start expanding its multimodal offer to include trains too.

As vaccination progresses and travel restrictions are lifted, BlaBlaCar sees travel resuming fast, with a preference for safe, local and affordable travel. The affordability of both carpooling and buses, and the unrivaled geographical coverage of its global network, makes BlaBlaCar’s offer particularly relevant, as the world adjusts to a new norm where domestic leisure travel is expected to pick up faster.

“BlaBlaCar is to transport what Airbnb is to accommodation. It’s the only global mobility marketplace benefitting from a unique and unreplicable source of supply, incredibly high community engagement and a strong brand. As investors since 2015, we’re excited to top-up our commitment to support BlaBlaCar in further reshaping the mobility landscape”
- Per Brilioth, CEO of VNV Global

BlaBlaCar is also announcing the acquisition of Ukrainian company Octobus. Octobus has developed a state-of-the-art Inventory Management System to help digitalise bus supply. This acquisition will reinforce BlaBlaCar’s ability to support the digitalisation of bus carriers outside of Europe, where bus operators are still selling most of their tickets offline, and where BlaBlaCar is leading the online transition.

“The crisis has reshuffled the cards of the game in the mobility space, and we see attractive opportunities to accelerate our ambitions to grow our multimodal offer. The funding, which adds to an already strong balance sheet, will help us lead an offensive strategy as we emerge stronger from an unprecedented year of crisis. We were in a good and safe position before this funding, now we are in a great position to take some risks, play offense and dream big”
- Nicolas Brusson, co-Founder and CEO of BlaBlaCar

About BlaBlaCar

BlaBlaCar is the world’s leading community-based travel network enabling over 90 million members to share a ride across 22 markets. BlaBlaCar leverages technology to fill empty seats on the road, connecting members looking to carpool or to travel by bus, and making travel more affordable, sociable and convenient. BlaBlaCar’s environmentally and human-friendly mobility network saves 1.6M tons of CO2 and enables 120M human connections every year.

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