“The goal at some point is most likely to go public,” Brusson, in jeans and black Ferragamo sneakers, said in an interview at the company’s central Paris headquarters. “The way I see it, we’re happy to be private for another couple of years. For now, we are building a sustainable, growing business.”
Concerns over climate change and higher transport costs, as well as government incentives for shared commutes, are fueling car-sharing. On Feb. 6, BlablaCar said revenue last year jumped 71% as it added 17 million new subscribers. About 21 million passengers traveled on its service in the fourth quarter, a 38% increase over the year-ago period.
“Carpooling is the Tinder of transport,” said Guillaume Crunelle who follows Europe’s transport sector for consulting firm Deloitte. “It’s a business that’s still at the starting line. Mentalities are changing quickly, driven by climate, and carpooling is one of the businesses that’s gaining.”
Not surprisingly, Russia’s Vostok New Ventures Ltd., which owns about 8.7% of BlablaCar, recently raised its valuation of the company to $1.82 billion, a more than 40% increase from a year ago.
Still, given the experience of the likes of ride-sharing company Uber Technologies Inc., which tumbled in its stock market debut, it may be a couple of years before BlablaCar comes to market. Companies don’t want to subject themselves in their early growth stages to the short-term interests of transient shareholders.
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