BlaBlaCar is one of the most well-known startups in Europe. The leading carpooling platform was founded by Frédéric Mazzella, Francis Nappez and Nicolas Brusson. At the beginning it was called covoiturage.fr but later the name was changed to BlaBlaCar, which was officially launched in 2006 in France.
BlaBlaCar is a fun brand which takes carpooling seriously, and it’s important for the brand name to encompass this. Until April 2013, “Covoiturage”, meaning “carpooling” was the brand name used in France. But, a brand point of differentiation was needed. With international expansion on the horizon, the team needed a name that was both local and global, and which would hold true to its brand values.
One evening after a long day at work, Fred was browsing through recently published trips on the platform. When he clicked on one of the member’s posts, he saw the member’s BlaBla preference and the member’s car type, and suddenly put the words together to form BlaBlaCar. It instantly made him laugh. Although he bought the domain that evening (at 1.06am on 1 September 2010 to be exact!), he was concerned that the name was too eccentric to become a company brand and wouldn’t dare propose it to the rest of the board members.
BlaBlaCar connects passengers who need to travel with drivers who have empty seats. They have more than 60 million members across the world and more than 3.5 million in Spain. The company operates in 22 countries (Germany, Benelux, Spain, France, Italy, Poland, Portugal, UK, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, India, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Mexico, Brazil, Czech Republic and Slovakia).
BlaBlacar is user friendly. The driver indicates the date and time of the trip, the itinerary and the amount per seat. The startup recommends a contribution per passenger for each journey and limits the variation that the driver can make on this recommended amount. Passengers choose among all the drivers who have published journeys on the platform that cover their trips, book and pay online. The driver and the passengers go to the meeting point at the agreed time for the trip and, after traveling, the driver receives the money in his bank account.
BlaBlaCar receives a percentage of this amount as management expense
BlaBlaCar stands out because with its technology they have managed to get people who did not know each other beforehand to have enough information on each other so that there is trust between them. From there, BlaBlaCar is what creates a community of people that can travel together in a more sustainable, more social and more affordable way. Therefore, there is a contribution of immediate value in terms of facilitating the mobility of people.
INVESTMENTS & FUTURE
The company prefers not reveal information about the amount of money that they received in several investment rounds. But they have shared which investors have contributed to the company (ISAI y Cabiedes Partners, Accel Partners, Index Ventures, Insight Venture Partners, Lead Edge Capital y Vostok New Ventures) and where they spent this money (four rounds of investments, that fueled product development, international growth, growing the member relations team/customer service and marketing campaigns).In the near future, their aim is to continue growing as well as take care of such a precious community and keep improving our offer to them.