The French startup BlaBlaCar has raised $160 million from its latest funding round, which was led by Insight Venture Partners. The company announced the investment this week nearly a year after it revealed another $100 million funding round. Reports also indicate the company was valued at $1.2 billion post-funding.
Although investors such as Index Ventures, ISAI, Accel Partners, and Lead Edge Capital were involved in the original round, it appears that only Insight led the Series D funding round.
BlaBlaCar is a car-sharing platform that provides a marketplace for users to find a driver going from one place to another and book a seat in the car. There is a payoff for all parties involved, with the driver saving money on fuel thanks to a contribution and the passengers travelling at a cheaper rate than they would by air, train, or bus. Similar to Airbnb, BlaBlaCar takes a modest cut from each journey that works out to be around 15 to 20 per cent.
The company has built an impressive network, and it seems to be growing in popularity with journeys between small towns and cities alike realising savings for commuters.
The network is available in 17 countries, including non-European countries such as Mexico and India. BlaBlaCar announced that it had around eight million members last year. It recently acquired its biggest rival, Carpooling.com, which had six million members.
The big sums of money that are being invested link to the layers of regulation BlaBlaCar comes across in each country it operates. In order to expand, the company requires local offices that can react to changing legislation and local variations.
The expansion of the model does have significant potential. In particular, India is a densely populated country that heavily relies on a slow and overcrowded train network. With 200-mile journeys working out at around $25, it is easy to see why BlaBlaCar is growing successfully.