BlaBlaCar is on the path to profitability

French startup BlaBlaCar just released some interesting metrics. The company has reached profitability if you look at revenue between January 2018 and today. BlaBlaCar forecasts that 50 million people will book a ride on BlaBlaCar in 2018, which represents a 40 percent increase compared to 2017. BlaBlaCar is a marketplace for long-distance rides. People driving […]

French startup BlaBlaCar just released some interesting metrics. The company has reached profitability if you look at revenue between January 2018 and today.

BlaBlaCar forecasts that 50 million people will book a ride on BlaBlaCar in 2018, which represents a 40 percent increase compared to 2017.

BlaBlaCar is a marketplace for long-distance rides. People driving from point A to point B can find riders willing to go in the same direction to share the cost of the ride.

A few years ago, when BlaBlaCar raised multiple megarounds, co-founder and now president Frédéric Mazzella told me that the company was at a crossroad and had to choose between growth first then profitability, or profitability then growth. It looks like the company has now completed its growth-then-profitability journey.

There are now 65 million registered users on the platform, including 15 million users in France. The service is currently live in 22 countries.

In France in particular, 40 percent of people aged between 18 and 35 are using BlaBlaCar. While the company is reaching market saturation on this segment, elderly people currently represent a growth opportunity.

It is the fastest growing segment and the user base has doubled in six years when you look at this part of the user base in particular — I know, these are some soft metrics so it’s hard to understand if it’s going to impact the company’s bottom line.

Foreign countries now represent 75 percent of BlaBlaCar’s revenue.

When it comes to features, BlaBlaCar finally started automatically matching people who are departing or arriving from a small city. Drivers don’t have to manually input a list of cities on the way. 20 percent of departure or arrival cities surface thanks to this new algorithm.

One way of reaching profitability is by reducing costs. And it’s true that BlaBlaCar faced some growth pains and is now a leaner company.

Now, BlaBlaCar is in great shape for an acquisition or an IPO. But the company says that it’ll keep investing to innovate, diversify and open new markets. So all options are still on the table.

BlaBlaCar acquires carpool rival BeepCar from Russia’s Mail.Ru

Another acquisition for French carpooling platform BlaBlaCar: It’s picked up Russian Internet giant Mail.Ru’s relatively recent rival offering, BeepCar, in what’s being billed as both an acquisition and a partnership. BlaBlaCar says the move is aimed at consolidating its international growth. “Through this acquisition, we are doubling down our commitment to develop carpooling in Russia, […]

Another acquisition for French carpooling platform BlaBlaCar: It’s picked up Russian Internet giant Mail.Ru’s relatively recent rival offering, BeepCar, in what’s being billed as both an acquisition and a partnership.

BlaBlaCar says the move is aimed at consolidating its international growth.

“Through this acquisition, we are doubling down our commitment to develop carpooling in Russia, and to address growing Russian demand for a convenient and reliable long-distance mobility solution,” said co-founder and CEO Nicolas Brusson in a statement.

Russia, a market which BlaBlaCar launched into via acquisition back in 2014 is now its largest market (with 15M users out of its global user base on 65M+). Whereas BeepCar, which only started in 2017, is reported to have passed five million downloads for its app as of Q2 this year.

But close competition from a well-resourced, local Internet giant in a core strategic market where BlaBlaCar has focused for growth likely meant this acquisition was probably only a matter of time.

Financial terms have not been disclosed but it includes a marketing partnership — with BlaBlaCar committing to further promote carpooling through Mail.Ru Group platforms (so it’ll presumably be buying ads).

While, from this fall, BeepCar traffic will be redirected to BlaBlaCar — thereby “driving” advertising revenue for Mail.Ru Group, as they put it (ho-ho).

A spokeswoman for BlaBlaCar confirmed the BeepCar brand and platform will be going away as the service is being consolidated into BlaBlaCar’s platform.

This April the French startup also acquired a Paris-based rival, called Less. While, back in 2015, it bagged its then biggest European rival, Carpooling.com, to dominate its home region.

For its part, the Mail.Ru Group said it will focus on developing its larger verticals: Food delivery, classifieds, cross-border trade, and taxi ride-hailing services.