Anisha Aditya

Anisha Aditya leads editorial initiatives at BW Legal, which is the legal publication of BW Businessworld. She is a Management Consultant with specialisation in International Business Strategies, assessment of bilateral and multilateral trade agreements between countries, the impact of preferential access on industries, and global value chains for private companies and governments. She has also assisted in framing state export strategies.

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BlaBlaCar Acquires 3 Million Users with Presence 700 Cities in India

BlaBlaCar had raised 1.25 million euros in Series A led by ISAI in 2011, USD 10 million led by Accel Partners in 2012 and USD 100 million led by Index Ventures in 2014. The latest round of funding was in 2015 where BlaBlaCar raised USD 200 million.

There has been a sharp surge in the startups of sharing economy across countries. With Airbnb, users can rent an entire house or the British castle. Lyft allows people to find rides from another car owner to make travel easier.

Faircent helps users to borrow from other people instead of banks and financial institutions. Infact, the McKinsey quarterly report of 2016 states the India will be leading in the sharing economy domain.

Headquartered in Paris, BlaBlaCar, the leading long-distance ride-sharing platform bets big on traversing between smaller cities. Since commencing operations in January 2015, Bla Bla Car offered 3 million seats with a presence in nearly 700 cities in India. The routes which have been most amicable to the model are Bengaluru-Chennai, Bengaluru-Hyderabad, Pune- Mumbai, New Delhi-Yamunanagar and New Delhi – Chandigarh. This year it expects 5-10 fold increase in the seats offered, and small cities will have a major share in this.

The France-based startup matches up passengers who need long-distance rides with drivers who are already headed that way. Of the total charge from customers, the company gets a commission of 10 to 15% for using its platform.

When asked about the raging growth strategy of company, country manager from India, Raghav Gupta mentioned, “We do not buy growth”. With the virtue of his words, BlaBlaCar has been doubling its metrics every year with adaptations in the Indian market, technological experiments, collaborations with IRCTC and lots of grease and sweat equity.

Top five startups in the transportation system of Western Europe

BlaBlaCar has gained its popularity not for being the only ride-sharing app, but for being the biggest so far. While expanding in other countries, Bla Bla Car did not follow any viral marketing campaign. Instead, the carpooling app began to acquire similar ride-sharing services that are already in place in other countries (like Italy, Poland, and Ukraine).

In 2014, when BlaBlaCar began operations in Germany, it acquired the app Mitfahrgelegenheit, which had been operating in a similar manner since the early years of 2000. Hordes of users who are already existing in marketplace got acquired by the company. The company claims to have over 30 million registered members globally, with presence in 22 countries.

Collaboration in IRCTC

In July 2015, BlaBlaCar had made an intelligent move to tied-up with IRCTC for offering passengers with wait-listed tickets the option of booking a seat on a shared ride.

Subsequently, IRCTC introduced a new Concierge/Cab section. This section redirects users to the IRCTC Tourism website, allowing to book a cab or opt for concierge services. Currently, the concierge service is available in 23 train stations across the country.

Fund Raising

Bla Bla Car had raised 125,000 million euros in Series A led by ISAI in 2011, USD 10 million led by Accel Partners in 2012 and USD 100 million led by Index Ventures in 2014. Most of the investment has been used to stabilize to the business model and expansion in international markets.

In September 2015, BlaBlaCar raised $200 million in a series D round of funding led by Insight Venture Partners, Lead Edge Capital and participation from Vostok New Ventures.

In an interview with, The New York Times, founder Nicolas Brusson mentioned to use the funding raised for emerging markets like India, Brazil and Turkey where, besides expanding its existing operations in 12 European countries.

The Societal Factor

Trust is an important societal factor in India. The company believes that trust and safety are important ways to increase traction of users. One of the biggest reasons for the enormous success of startups like Airbnb and BlablaCar in Europe is because Europeans are more trusting of each other.

The Indian market might be apprehensive of sharing rides considering their privacy and personal safety with regards to a complete stranger.

BlaBlaCar verifies the authentication of personal information by email and cell number verification. Further, to add an extra layer of trust & safety, government ID verification has been introduced. The community members can verify their Passport, Aadhaar card or PAN card, both securely and confidentially.

As an exclusive safety measure for women, BlaBlaCar has a feature that allows members to plan a ride where the car owner and all co-travelers are women.
Users can also check reviews based on punctuality, personality and behaviour of the car driver left by previous travellers.

The Odd-Even Rule in New Delhi

To regulate the high traction of vehicles and escalating pollution of the capital, the government introduced the odd-even rule based on the number plates of cars in New Delhi.

Interestingly, during the odd-even rule in Delhi, BlaBlaCar had a 65% increase in their services. The company added a feature that will allow its users in Delhi to offer rides on specific days depending on their number plates in compliance with the state government’s proposed odd-even formula.

India is the only Asia Pacific country where BlaBlaCar currently operates. At present, the nation has a burgeoning share in the sharing economy services like BlaBlaCar, intra-city operators like Uber, Ola, and other ride-sharing apps like Pool Circle and CoYathri in the travel market.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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