French ride sharing startup Blablacar raises $200 million
The company is now worth more than $1 billion, according to several newspaper reports, drawing concerns about a new bubble-like frenzy in the tech world. Blablacar hasn't confirmed that figure.
Paris-based Blablacar said in a statement that the new fundraising – including money from Insight Venture Partners, Lead Edge Capital, and Vostok New Ventures – boosted its investments to more than $300 million. As of June 2014, the company raised $100 million in a funding round led by Index Ventures.
The company, which started in 2006, says it now has 20 million users in 19 countries, including major European markets as well as Russia, India and Mexico. It's focusing next on Brazil, other Latin American countries and Asia. The company website only lists 17 countries.
While car services such as Uber have clashed with French authorities over regulatory and tax issues, Blablacar has met less resistance. Its drivers aren't meant to make profits on the rides, but are meant to share the cost of travel with passengers. That's because Blablacar is more of an actual carsharing app – like hitchhiking, potential riders put in their destination and see who's already going their way - than a taxi service.
The name refers to how people often talk on long-distance car trips – though the service offers options for travelers who prefer quiet rides.
The AP contributed to this report.
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