BlaBlaCar, the shining star of sharing economy in Europe, has struck again with a whopping amount of funding in Series C. Index Ventures has led the round of $100 million with participation from existing investors Accel Partners, ISAI and Lead Edge Capital.
The figure is the highest for a European startup offering shared services, said Nicolas Brusson, the COO and co-founder of BlaBlaCar.
The Paris-headquartered company who has very recently acquired and re-branded Podorozhniki of Russia, wants to use fresh funds in opening up to new markets. Brusson told me that they have been examining Eastern European markets, Turkey and Brazil for a while and will most probably come up with fresh acqui-hiring news really soon.
The ride-sharing marketplace claims to be at the forefront of global sharing economy revolution, offering efficient and affordable intercity transportation by opening up the wasted capacity in cars (the empty seats, that is) to guest travelers who wish to pay less.
It has become so popular that its year-on-year growth has hit 200% in 2014, with over 8 million registered members in total and 1 million users sharing journeys every month.
Since its last financing round of $10m in early 2012, BlaBlaCar has expanded from France into 11 countries and made three acquisitions. It has surpassed 1 million members one year after launch in Germany.
Brusson told me that this amazing growth owes a lot to their critical strategy of educating the markets about the merits of sharing economy. “We convince people about the merits of the sharing economy in the first place” said Brusson.
The strategy seems having worked particularly well in Russia. Brusson said Podorozhniki had around 40K members when they acquired the company. In just 5 months, the member-base in Russia and Ukraine has jumped to over 250K.
BlaBlaCar was founded in 2006 by Frédéric Mazzella, CEO, Francis Nappez, CTO, and Nicolas Brusson, COO, and currently operates in Benelux, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, the Ukraine and the United Kingdom.