BlaBlaCar zooms into startup record books

Ride-sharing company BlaBlaBar announced that it had broken all records for a French start-up after revealing it was now valued at $1.6 billion - enough to earn it the grand status of being a "unicorn".

BlaBlaCar zooms into startup record books
The co-founders of BlaBlaCar, no doubt overjoyed to be valued at over $1 billion. Photo: AFP
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’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)

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


France is ‘Europe’s most innovative country’

France can consider itself Europe's most innovative nation and the third in the world after a new study published on Thursday looked at the number of patents lodged in each country.

France is 'Europe's most innovative country'
Photo: Nana B Agyel/Flickr

The study by Thompson-Reuters looked at the the ‘100 most innovative organisations and enterprises' in the world.

And with 10 French companies making the list, France was the best represented country in Europe and was only outdone by Japan and the United States, which dominated the rankings with 40 and 35 companies included respectively.

The French companies singled out by the study for their innovation were Alcatel-Lucent, Alstom, Arkema, Safran, Saint-Gobain, Thales, Baleo and the organizations CEA, CNRS and IFP.

The study calculated the number of patents filed in each country, the rate of accepted patents compared to those which are registered, the geographical range of the patents and their influence. 

“The amount of patents isn’t everything,” explains Dominique Ducay, Direcor of Strategy and Intellectual Property at Thompson-Reuters. “In the study we are very interested in the quality of these patents, as well as their influence.”

Ducay said that the industries which were developing most rapidly were the automobile, pharmaceutical and chemical industries,

In order to take part in the annual study, now in its fifth year, businesses must have developed “at least 100 inventions over the past five years,” says Ducay.

Germany and South Korea took fourth and fifth place in the study with, respectively, four and five companies listed. Perhaps unexpectedly, neither the UK nor China feature in the top 100.

Ducay points out that in the UK, investment in research and development is not given the same priority as in the countries higher up the list. It represents just 1.63 percent of GDP compared to 3.47 percent in Japan, 2.73 percent in the United States and 2.23 percent in France, according to the study.
In October, Paris was rated as the sixth best European city for startups and for scale-ups, according to the European Digital City Index for 2015, which ranked the French capital ahead of Berlin.