There must be some hip, secret society of automakers where the only admission is an investment in a new-age ridesharing outfit. If that thing I just made up were actually true, Daimler would be the president of that club. And, what do you know, it's investing in another ridesharing company.
Daimler led the largest yet round of funding for Blacklane, a ridesharing startup based in Germany, Bloomberg reports. Blacklane allows riders to connect with licensed chauffeurs through an app, a website or partners like Expedia. They want to angle for the business of global travelers, who would likely prefer a single app that works in various countries.
Thus, Blacklane is looking to expand into new markets, including Asia and the Middle East. This week, it's receiving an eight-figure sum (Bloomberg estimates around $11 million) to help it achieve those goals, although it's unclear just how much of that is Daimler's money. Daimler already has its own car-sharing service, Car2Go, but the two occupy wildly different segments of the sharing economy, as Car2Go involves driving yourself around in a short-term rental vehicle.
Currently, Blacklane employs some 200 people, and it's available in more than 200 cities across 50 countries, including about 400 airports. It's already inked partnership deals with Expedia and Booking.com. It's also rolling out a less expensive version of its service, for riders that may not want to pay for the full "black car" experience.
Update, 4:48 p.m. Eastern: Clarified the funding figures.