Comuto SA
Company typePrivately held company
Industrytransport Edit this on Wikidata
Founded16 September 2006; 17 years ago (2006-09-16)
FounderFrédéric Mazzella
Francis Nappez
Nicolas Brusson
Nicolas Deroche
Headquarters
Paris
,
France
Area served
Belgium, Brazil, Croatia, Czechia, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, and United Kingdom
ServicesCarpooling
Revenue€200,000,000 approx. (2022)[1]
Members100 million (2022)
Number of employees
600
Websitewww.blablacar.com

BlaBlaCar is an online marketplace for carpooling headquartered in Paris. Its website and mobile apps connect drivers and passengers willing to travel together between cities and share the cost of the journey, in exchange for a commission of between 18% and 21%.[2][3][4] It also operates BlaBlaBus, an intercity bus service. The platform has 26 million active members and is available Europe and Latin America.[5]

The service is named for its rating scale for drivers' preferred level of chattiness in the car: "Bla" for not very chatty, "BlaBla" for someone who likes to talk, and "BlaBlaBla" for those who can't keep quiet.[6]

History

In December 2003, Frédéric Mazzella wanted to travel from Paris to visit his family in the French countryside for Christmas but he did not own a car and the trains were fully booked. After his sister made a 150-kilometer detour to collect him, he noticed that most cars going in his direction did not have any passengers. During nights and weekends, he began working on creating a concept to address the issue. In 2006, he bought a website called Covoiturage.fr, French for "carpooling", created in 2004.[6][7] By September 2008, it was the largest carpool website in France.[7]

In 2009, it launched a Spanish version of the site under the name of Comuto.es. Throughout the year, it opened carpool services for companies and cities, such as MAIF, IKEA, Vinci Park, RATP, Carrefour, and the city of Montrouge.

In December 2009, the company launched its mobile app.[8]

In June 2011, it introduced BlaBlaCar.com in the United Kingdom.[9]

In June 2012, an online reservation service was added to Covoiturage.fr.[10] The web service put in place its business model and began to make profits. It was also a way to attract drivers and to reach the critical mass. Between July and November, Comuto expanded to Italy, Portugal, Poland, Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Belgium.[citation needed]

In April 2013, BlaBlaCar was launched in Germany.[11] Covoiturage.fr was re-branded BlaBlaCar.fr.[12][13][14]

By December 2013, BlaBlaCar had 5 million members.[15]

In January 2014, BlaBlaCar was introduced in Ukraine and Russia.[16]

In September 2014, the service had 10 million users.[17]

In January 2015, BlaBlaCar expanded to India. The company bought multiple competitors, including Carpooling in Germany,[18] Autohop in eastern Europe, and Rides in Mexico, expanding to Latin America.[19]

In 2015, the company had 290 employees on three continents and 20 million users in 19 countries. In May 2015, BlaBlaCar signed a partnership with Axa to insure its users, launching BlaBlaSure in May 2018.[20]

In April 2017, a long term rental service was offered to the best drivers.[21] It was the result of a partnership with the constructor Opel and ALD Automotive, specializing in long term rental.

On 2 May 2017, BlaBlaLines, an application for daily carpool, was launched in France.[22]

In 2017, the company closed its offices in India, Turkey and Mexico. Executives said they had spent too much and hired too aggressively in those territories. Overall, the company has become far more diversified in terms of geography. While 75% of its users were in France in 2015, by 2021 the company reported that 80% of its riders were outside of France and 60% were outside of Europe.[23]

On 30 January 2018, BlaBlaCar unveiled a new corporate identity and style guide. A new algorithm was also put in place to increase the number of trips proposed for users.[24]

In April 2018, the company acquired Less, which launched four months earlier.[25]

In November 2018, BlaBlaCar announced the purchase of long-distance coach operator Ouibus from SNCF. As part of the transaction, SNCF became a shareholder in BlaBlaCar.[26] Ouibus was rebranded BlaBlaBus and BlaBlaCar also raised $114 million from SNCF and previous investors.[27] In 2019, BlaBlaCar acquired Russia's largest bus booking platform, Busfor.[28]

In April 2021, the company acquired Octobus, a Ukrainian company that develops software for bus operators to manage their finances and ticket sales.[29]

In 2021, bus seats represented 20% of all bookings on the BlaBlaCar platform.[23]

In March 2023, the company acquired Klaxit, a French startup enabling carpools on work commutes.[30][31]

Funding

In 2009, the company raised €600,000 from the founders and their friends and family.[6]

In June 2010, Comuto raised €1.25 million from ISAI run by Jean-David Chamboredon.[32][33]

In January 2012, Comuto raised €7.5 million from Accel Partners, ISAI and Cabiedes & Partners to develop its activities in Europe.[34]

In July 2014, BlaBlaCar raised US$100 million from Index Ventures.[35][36] In September 2015, the company raised US$200 million, primarily from Insight Venture Partners, in a round that valued the company at $1.6 billion.[37][38][39]

In April 2021, BlaBlaCar raised $115 million.[40][41][42]

References

  1. ^ "Voilà pourquoi BlaBlaCar refuse de se lancer aux Etats-Unis" (in French). BFMTV. 4 November 2015. Retrieved 1 December 2017.
  2. ^ Dillet, Romain (30 January 2018). "BlaBlaCar is optimizing its service for small cities and has a new visual identity". TechCrunch.
  3. ^ Möhlmann, Mareike (22 December 2016). "How people build an unusually large sense of trust in services like Uber and Airbnb". Business Insider.
  4. ^ SCOTT, MARK (2 July 2016). "BlaBlaCar, a Ride-Sharing Start-Up in Europe, Looks to Expand Its Map". The New York Times.
  5. ^ "About Us". BlaBlaCar.
  6. ^ a b c COWAN, MATT (14 April 2015). "BlaBlaCar has turned ride-sharing into a multi-million-euro business". Wired.
  7. ^ a b "Covoiturage.fr veut faire sauter les freins du partage de voiture" [Covoiturage.fr wants to break the brakes on car sharing]. L'Express (in French). 12 September 2008.
  8. ^ "We are Passionate. We Innovate". BlaBlaCar.
  9. ^ Varza, Roxanne (29 June 2011). "Need a ride? Carpooling platform Blablacar launches in the UK". TechCrunch.
  10. ^ Gallet, Ludwig (10 August 2012). "Pourquoi Covoiturage.fr est devenu payant" [Why Covoiturage.fr became paying]. L'Express (in French).
  11. ^ "Allemagne/Blablacar : Une équipe dédiée sur place" [Germany/Blablacar: A dedicated team on site]. Les Echos (France) (in French). 15 May 2013.
  12. ^ "Exploratory study of consumer issues in online peer-to-peer platform markets". European Commission. February 2017.
  13. ^ "Fun & Serious". BlaBlaCar.
  14. ^ "Covoiturage.fr devient BlaBlaCar" [Covoiturage.fr becomes BlaBlaCar]. BlaBlaCar (in French). Archived from the original on 3 October 2017.
  15. ^ "Vidéo Frédéric Mazzella-BlaBlacar: 5 millions de membres (covoiturage)" [Video Frédéric Mazzella-BlaBlacar: 5 million members (carpooling)]. ITespresso.fr (in French). 25 November 2013.
  16. ^ "BlaBlaCar arrive en Russie et en Ukraine". BlaBlaCar (in French). 21 January 2014. Archived from the original on 29 January 2018.
  17. ^ "Covoiturage: Blablacar passe le cap des 10 millions de membres" [Carpooling: Blablacar passes the milestone of 10 million members]. Challenges (in French). 9 September 2014.
  18. ^ "Blablacar rachète son principal concurrent européen" [Blablacar acquires its main European competitor]. Le Monde (in French). 15 April 2015.
  19. ^ "BlaBlaCar rides into Mexico!". BlaBlaCar.
  20. ^ "AXA and BlaBlaCar launch BlaBlaSure, the first insurance offer for ridesharers". Axa. 29 May 2018.
  21. ^ "BlaBlaCar propose des voitures neuves à ses meilleurs chauffeurs" [BlaBlaCar offers new cars at its best]. Le Figaro (in French). 5 April 2017.
  22. ^ Dillet, Romain (2 May 2017). "BlaBlaCar unveils BlaBlaLines, a new app for daily commutes". TechCrunch.
  23. ^ a b "15 Years Of BlaBlaCar: Nicolas Brusson Talks Global Ambition, Course Corrections, And The Road Ahead". The French Tech Journal. 20 October 2021.
  24. ^ Béziat, Eric (31 January 2018). "Blablacar tente de se relancer grâce à un nouvel algorithme" [Blablacar is trying to revive itself thanks to a new algorithm]. Le Monde (in French).
  25. ^ Sawers, Paul (27 April 2018). "BlaBlaCar acquires French urban carpooling startup Less". VentureBeat.
  26. ^ "SNCF to sell Ouibus to BlaBlaCar in multimodal partnership". Railway Gazette International. 13 November 2018.
  27. ^ O'Brien, Chris (12 November 2018). "BlaBlaCar buys French bus service, raises $114 million". VentureBeat.
  28. ^ O'Brien, Chris (24 September 2019). "BlaBlaCar to acquire Busfor amid European mobility upheaval". VentureBeat.
  29. ^ Antoniuk, Daryna (22 April 2021). "French BlaBlaCar acquires Octobus to digitize local bus operators". Kyiv Post.
  30. ^ Dillet, Romain (15 March 2023). "BlaBlaCar to acquire Klaxit, a ride-sharing service for daily commutes". TechCrunch.
  31. ^ CATRON, DEREK (16 March 2023). "BLABLACAR LOOKS TO ACQUIRE KLAXIT, BOOST FRENCH CARPOOLING". PhocusWire.
  32. ^ Guerrier, Philippe (15 June 2010). "Le fonds ISAI croit au potentiel de Covoiturage.fr" [The ISAI fund believes in the potential of Covoiturage.fr]. ITespresso.fr (in French).
  33. ^ "Vanity :( Sanity :Reality :)". BlaBlaCar.
  34. ^ Moreau, Marion (17 January 2012). "[Exclu] Covoiturage.fr lève 7,5 millions d'euros" [[Excluded] Covoiturage.fr raises 7.5 million euros]. FrenchWeb.fr (in French).
  35. ^ "BlaBlaCar lève 100 millions de dollars pour devenir le leader mondial du covoiturage" (in French). 2 July 2014.
  36. ^ Dillet, Romain (1 July 2014). "BlaBlaCar Raises A Massive $100 Million Round To Create A Global Long Distance Ride-Sharing Network". TechCrunch.
  37. ^ Scott, Mark (16 September 2015). "BlaBlaCar, a French Ride-Sharing Start-Up, Is Valued at $1.6 Billion". The New York Times.
  38. ^ Dillet, Romain (8 September 2015). "BlaBlaCar Is Raising $160 Million From Insight, Valuing Ride-Sharing Startup At $1.2 Billion". TechCrunch.
  39. ^ "Nouvelle levée de fonds de 200 millions de dollars de BlaBlaCar" [New fundraising of $200 million from BlaBlaCar]. L'Usine nouvelle (in French). 16 September 2015.
  40. ^ "BlaBlaCar announces a $115M funding to boost its growth ambitions" (Press release). BlaBlaCar. 20 April 2021.
  41. ^ Menze, Jill (20 April 2021). "BlaBlaCar raises $115M to expand carpool and bus services". Phocuswire.
  42. ^ O'Neill, Sean (21 April 2021). "Startup BlaBlaCar Raises $115 Million for Long-Distance Carpooling and Bus Travel". Skift.