BlaBlaCar

Ridesharing app BlaBlaCar has raised $200 million in a series D round of funding led by Insight Venture Partners, Lead Edge Capital and participation from Vostok New Ventures, reports YourStory. The company will use the investment to accelerate growth in Europe and focus on existing markets like India.

BlaBlaCar entered India in July last year, a couple of weeks after raising $100 million led by Index Ventures, with the participation of existing investors Accel Partners, ISAI and Lead Edge Capital. Interestingly, the company had said then that emerging markets like India, Brazil and Turkey where the “transport infrastructure is poor”, could eventually become bigger markets for it than Western Europe, where the platform debuted. BlaBlaCar had also raised $10 million in funding led by Accel Partners in 2012 and  ~$140,000 in funding led by ISAI in 2011.

BlaBlaCar, which is run by the Paris-based company ComutoSA, allows travellers to find drivers who are heading to the same destination (intercity only), and then connects them via mobile phone or email in order to arrange a shared ride. Through this, drivers gets a chance to offset the trip cost, while users pay lesser for the ride, in comparison to what they would’ve paid for public transportation. As of now, the platform claims to be present in 700 cities in India with over 3,50,000 seat bookings in the last 6 months. Internationally, the platform claims to have over 20 million members across the 19 countries it is present in.

IRCTC tie up: In July, BlaBlaCar tied-up with IRCTC to offer passengers with wait-listed tickets the option of booking a seat on a shared ride. As we had said then, there aren’t many people who travel between cities in their cars on a regular basis in India, unlike in European countries. However on the upside, BlaBlaCar operates more like a community, where price charged per co-traveller is limited to a partial contribution towards the cost of the journey, and prohibits the car owner from making a profit from the trip. This limits agents wanting to make trips for a profit from joining up, and ensures that only users looking to reduce the cost of a trip they would take anyway, sign up on the platform.

Competition: While there are several players in the online cab booking services like the San Francisco-based Uber, TaxiForSure and Olacabs in the country, but there aren’t many players who focus on ride-sharing segment in the country. Some that do include Ibibo Group’s Ryde (currently operational only in Delhi and a few neighboring cities), Rocket Internet-backed Tripda (primarily operates in Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore and Delhi), and Ridingooffers ride sharing in select markets, the service is not available in India.