- Founder says company won’t consider IPO for a few more years
- BlaBlaCar to use funds for new markets in Asia, Latin America
Ride-sharing application BlaBlaCar has raised $200 million in funding, bringing the French company’s valuation to $1.6 billion as it attempts to expand into new markets and help keep up with growth after its community of drivers more than doubled last year.
Insight Venture Partners and Lead Edge Capital led the round, which also included Vostok New Ventures, the startup said in a statement Wednesday. BlaBlaCar, which is the brand name for Comuto SA, has now raised more than $300 million.
The Paris-based company, with more than 20 million members in 19 countries, is hiring a team in Brazil. That service should start operation by December, Chief Operating Officer Nicolas Brusson, said in an interview. BlaBlaCar also is looking at other big, Latin American markets, such as Chile, and at several countries in Asia, said Brusson, who is a company co-founder.
“We’ve been really positively surprised by the traction we get in these markets,” Brusson said. “The speed of growth in these markets has been phenomenal and that’s really what drove us to do another fundraising.”
Apps that let customers book rides on their smartphone are becoming some of the most valuable startups. Ola, an Indian ride-booking company similar to Uber Technologies Inc., is close to raising $500 million in funds that would value it at $5 billion or more, people familiar with the plans said. San Francisco-based Uber is valued at $50 billion.
Still, BlaBlaCar won’t consider going public for a few more years as it focuses on this period of growth, Brusson said. Last year, Index Ventures led a $100 million round of investment in the company. Since then, BlaBlaCar bought Carpooling.com, its German rival, and expanded into Turkey, India and Mexico.