BlaBlaCar, a Paris-based app that allows motorists and passengers to meet and share a car journey, saving both the driver and the passenger expenses, has become the toast of the French start-up scene.
The French group reported a $200 million investment on Wednesday, enough to send it soaring into the company of the "start-up unicorns" - that is start-ups valued at more than $1 billion, based on fundraising.
After announcing the massive investment on Wednesday BlaBlaCar said it was now valued at €1.4 billion ($1.6 billion).
Becoming a start-up unicorn is no mean feat, although it is becoming more common.
Fortune magazine noted that there are only 138 start-up unicorns in the world, but this figure has shot up from just 80 in January.
Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron took to Twitter to congratulate the company, welcoming them to "the big time".
.@BlaBlaCar_FR Bienvenue chez les (très) grands. Et bravo !— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) September 16, 2015
BlaBlaCar’s founder and CEO, Frédéric Mazzella, said in a statement: “It has been exhilarating to see our vision resonate with so many people globally, as BlaBlaCar’s community has rapidly scaled and flourished in every new market. We’ve built a unique activity based on the values of true sharing, and this funding will help unleash even more of its potential over the coming years.”
Nicolas Brusson, the co-founder of Blablacar, told the magazine that the company, now worth €1.4 billion ($1.6 billion), would be looking at using the investment to spread globally.
"In Europe, we’ve been deploying a new way to travel," he said.
"It’s been in countries that always have numerous options; they have rail, bus, even their own car, there have always been other solutions. In India and Russia, and to some extent in Turkey and Mexico, the infrastructure is quite insufficient."
BlaBlaCar has around 20 million members across 19 countries, mainly in Europe but also in India and Mexico.
(Founder of BlaBlaCar Frederic Mazzella. Photo: AFP)