Yes, there is a new ride-sharing service sweeping throughout Europe and other parts of the world such as Mexico and India. It has become so popular that it already has 20 million members around the world. And whereas names like Uber and Lyft give off an air of sophistication, this company seems to be all about making ride-sharing fun. After all, they call themselves BlaBlaCar.
The idea for BlaBlaCar actually occurred to founder Frédéric Mazzella during Christmas. He wanted to get home to his family in the countryside and figured that if he found a driver going the same way, he could just offer to share the cost for gas in exchange for getting a lift. A student at Stanford, Mazzella soon found himself starting an online community, which kept growing and eventually connected him with Francis Nappez who would eventually become BlaBlaCar’s co-counder and engineer.
Meanwhile, the company’s third co-founder Nicholas Brusson was also a student in Stanford and joined the company full-time to run the business in Europe. The name of the company actually comes from their creative way of asking community members about their preferred in-car chattiness level. It’s “Bla” if you just want a very quiet ride, “BlaBla” if you don’t mind having a bit of conversation and “BlaBlaBla” if you want to talk all throughout the ride.
Well, BlaBlaCar may be unknown to many in the United States, but the company has just secured a fresh round of funding seemingly without effort. In fact, Vostok New Ventures recently announced that it is investing over $200 million in BlaBlaCar along with Insight Venture Partners and Lead Edge Capital. Moreover, the company is now said to be valued at around $1.58 billion.
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One thing is certain. For BlaBlaCar, business is anything but bla.