Changes in the mobility industry has been hitting Europe and changing how consumers move about
This has given consumers more transportation choices, but it opens up chances for companies to grow and change along with the market.
Paris-based BlaBlaCar is a mobility pioneer that now finds itself trying to stay one step ahead of the accelerating waves of disruption it helped unleash. Known for its intercity carpooling platform, the company now plans to push deeper into the world of busing by offering to acquire Russia’s largest bus platform, Busfor.
“This is really to accelerate our vision around how to make available any empty seat.”
— Nicolas Brusson, Co-Founder and CEO of BlaBlaCar
Across Europe, everything from electric scooters to low-cost airlines are transforming long-established travel habits. BlaBlaCar was one of the companies that originally shook things up with its platform that allows car drivers to post their trips and let other riders pay for a seat. It’s immensely popular in France and much of Europe, and has raised $335 million in venture capital on its way to unicorn status.
Its trajectory has not always been smooth, however. It entered into some markets, such as India, Turkey, and Mexico, where it stumbled and had to pull back. Brusson said India and Mexico are now finally paying off, with rides soaring and its community growing. Today, BlaBlaCar has 80 million drivers and passengers in 22 countries.
Still, its biggest and perhaps best move was entering Russia’s fragmented transportation market in 2014. Russia now is BlaBlaCar’s top market by number of rides, and last year the company acquired Russian carpooling platform BeepCar to further cement its leadership in that market. BlaBlaCar now has 25 million members in the Central and Eastern European region.
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