BlaBlaCar Startup Story – An Ultimate Solution for Carpooling

BlaBlaCar is a brand that solves all your problems with carpooling. It got founded in 2006 by Frederic Mazzella, Nicolas Brusson, and Francis Nappez. BlaBlaCar’s net worth is $1.5 Billion and its revenue is around $91 Million. The company operates in 22 countries and they have raised a funding of more than $500 Million to date.

By Swati Chandra Apr 11 2022 4:39PM 387 Read
BlaBlaCar Startup Story – A Solution for Long-Distance Carpooling

BlaBlaCar is a brand that solves all your problems with carpooling. This company focuses on providing its customers with an affordable and comfortable travelling experience. They connect drivers and passengers who want to travel long distances. It benefits the customers, as the travelling cost reduces and they get to experience excellent rides at such low rates. So let us get into this article and read the startup journey of this amazing company.

BlaBlaCar – Key Highlights

  • Stratup Name – BlaBlaCar
  • Founders - Frederic Mazzella, Nicolas Brusson, Francis Nappez
  • Founding Year – 2006
  • Revenue - $91 million
  • Net worth - $1.5 billion
  • Countries served - 22

BlaBlaCar – Founders

  • Frederic Mazzella – Frederic is the co-founder and president of BlaBlaCar. Before launching this company, he was a scientific researcher at NIT (Japan) and NASA (USA). He holds a master's in physics from Ecole Normale Superieure, France, a master's in Computer Science from Stanford, and also holds an MBA degree from INSEAD. Apart from all these qualifications, he is also a talented classical pianist.
  • Nicolas Brusson – Nicolas is the co-founder and CEO of BlaBlaCar. He joined BlaBlaCar in 2011 and before that, he was working with various startups in Silicon Valley. Nicolas holds a Master's in Applied Physics from Paris XI University, Masters's in Optics from Ecole Superieure ‘Optique, and an MBA degree from INSEAD. He is also an active angel investor.
  • Francis Nappez – Francis is the co-founder and a technology advisor to the CEO of the company. He is also the co-founder of Tech. Rocks which is France’s largest think tank for Tech Leaders. He holds a degree in Technology & Communication Research, from Joseph Fourier University. Before joining BlaBlaCar, he worked for several huge names in the European consumer internet by leading major technical developments.

BlaBlaCar – Brand Name, Logo, and Tagline

  • BrandName – The company’s brand name is very unique and attention-grabbing. This is exactly what they wanted. The founders wanted a name that’s both local and global and resonates with all kinds of people around the world.
  • Logo – The company’s logo is in unique inverted comma shape and it is in eye-catchy blue, black, and green colour.
  • Slogan – The company’s slogan is – ‘Trusted carpooling: Connecting people who need to travel with drivers having empty seats.

BlaBlaCar – Business Model

The company tried and tested a lot of models and none of them suited the until the last one (which they are currently working on). Here are some of the business models that were adopted by the company on its entrepreneurial journey.

  • Premium Model – The company first started with the Premium Model on their platform. The model provided free usage to its users. They only had to pay a monthly or annual fee to elevate their service higher on the search engine. But it got discarded, as they felt that the model was unfair to many users.
  • Monthly Fee Plan – The company then came up with Monthly Fee Plan. But it was eliminated too as the founders didn’t find it fruitful as well.
  • Advertising Model – BlaBlaCar then came up with an Advertising model but it got cancelled as well, as keeping their customer’s privacy at stake was not a good decision.
  • Phone Bridge Model – In this model, the company offered the option to their users to hide their contact numbers. They will remain reachable all this time via a pay telephone bridge. But the company's vision was to go global and it would have created a problem as the telephone operators all over the world are different. So, they had to cancel this model as well.
  • Corporate Company’s Service – BlaBlaCar soon found out that several companies wanted to give this service to their employees. They soon partnered with over 200 companies but in 2012 this model again failed. Each company and each employee had a different requirement and it was difficult to come up with a collective solution that suits all of them.
  • Peer to Peer Marketplace Model – The current model of the company has finally been fruitful for them. It is a person to person interface than a B2C (Business to Customer) or B2B (Business to Business) interface.

BlaBlaCar – Growth

BlaBlaCar has seen some very good numbers in the terms of growth factors. Some of them are as follows:

  • They are operating in 22 countries.
  • They already have over 100 million members in several countries.
  • The company has 25 million travellers per quarter.
  • The average distance of a BlaBlaCar trip is a whopping 263 kilometres.
  • BlaBlaCar helped its members in saving more than $1.5 billion since its creation.
  • Since its creation, the community has shared 30 billion kilometres.
  • Their cancellation has been reduced from 35% t0 2.5%.

BlaBlaCar – Funding and Investors

Fundings raised by the company are as follows:

  • $1.54 Million – Venture Capital, 2010
  • $10 Million – Venture Capital, Series B, 2012
  • $100 Million – Venture Capital, Series C, 2014
  • $200 Million – Venture Capital, Series D, 2015
  • $21.3 Million – Private Equity, 2016
  • $101 Million – Venture Capital, 2018
  • $115 Million – Venture Capital, 2021

BlaBlaCar – Competitors

BlaBlaCar is slowly becoming one of the most loved companies by the customers. The way it is solving the long-distance travelling issues for people is just commendable. The company still has a long way to go and overshadowing its already existing, strong competitors in the market won’t be an easy task. Some of the strong competitors of BlaBlaCar are as follows:

  • Uber
  • Ola Cabs
  • Lyft
  • Didi
  • Cabify
  • Gojek
  • Grab

BlaBlaCar – Challenges

BlaBlaCar has already faced a lot of challenges in its entrepreneurial journey. The company has always worked hard and they have sustained in this highly competitive market. Some of the challenges in front of the company are as follows:

  • Changing Business Model – The company had always struggled with its business model. They changed it several times and none of them worked well for them until the last one. Constant changing in their business model affected their revenue generation and they couldn’t settle for a perfect model that would entirely serve the purpose of their business.
  • Pandemic – The recent coronavirus pandemic has hit several businesses. Many companies failed and suffered stupendous losses. BlaBlaCar however survived in this pandemic era but the company was badly hit. The whole was shut down and people stopped travelling at all. It was one of the biggest challenges that the company had to face.
  • Competitors – Competitors are there in every field. Especially when you are on an entrepreneurial journey, you have to go through many hardships. BlaBlaCar has quite a few competitors in the market and some of them are performing well on various levels. So this has always been a challenge for the company to overcome its competitors.

BlaBlaCar – Future Plans

BlaBlaCar has some tremendous plans for the upcoming future. They have already entered the Indian market and it is an opportunity for them to grow and expand as a company. Some of the incredibly good plans of the company are as follows:

  • The company wants to expand their business in several other countries as well.
  • They are planning to make a strong base in India, as it is one of the biggest markets for them.
  • BlaBlaCar wants to solidify its current business model.
  • They are also planning to double its revenue by the end of the next financial year.
Swati Chandra
Swati Chandra View More Posts

I am an English Honours graduate from Delhi University and writing is my passion. I like writing sweet, fun, action-packed mysteries. My characters are clever and fearless, but in real life, I am afraid of basements, bees, and going upstairs when it is dark behind. I have 2+ years of experience in this field and have worked with several websites as an intern.

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