Ride-sharing network BlaBlaCar raises $100M in funding

Long-distance ride-sharing network touts itself as an inexpensive alternative to planes and trains.

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BlaBlaCar demonstrates how its service works. BlaBlaCar

BlaBlaCar, a long-distance ride-sharing network, has raised a $100 million series C investment, according to venture capital firm Index Ventures, which led the round.

With more than 8 million customers in 12 countries, the Paris-based company touts its self as an inexpensive alternative to planes and trains, finding vacant seats in cars traveling between cities. Passengers make a contribution to travel costs, but drivers do not profit from the ride, in contrast to models embraced by on-demand ride services such as Uber and Lyft.

"By matching people looking to travel long distances with drivers seeking to share the cost of their journeys, BlaBlaCar is at the forefront of a worldwide sharing economy revolution, making ground transport more efficient and affordable," Index Ventures said in a blog post. Previous investors Accel Partners, French fund ISAI and Lead Edge Capital also joined the round.

More than 1 million BlaBlaCar users share rides each month that average about 200 miles. A ride of that distance typically costs members less than $25, Index Ventures said, three times lower than alternative forms of transportation, the VC said.

Founded in 2006, BlaBlaCar has expanded into 11 countries since its previous financing round of $10 million in 2012.

"Our very successful new market expansion demonstrates that BlaBlaCar is relevant on a global scale," Nicolas Brusson, BlaBlaCar's chief operating officer, said in a statement. "This $100 million round provides firepower for us to explore every large market in the world, where access to ground transport can be improved upon. We will continue to look for smart, local acqui-hires, as we build a brand with global reach and unrivalled on-the-ground operations."

Investor interest in ride-sharing companies has shifted gears in recent months. Private car service Uber is currently raising money in a financing round that Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said would likely give it a " record-breaking" valuation. Uber, which has already raised $307.5 million in three funding rounds, has reportedly been in talks with a group of fund managers to raise about $500 million, financing that would give the startup a valuation of about $12 billion.

Rival on-demand car service Lyft announced in April that it had raised $250 million in Series D funding.

This BlaBlaCar-produced video explains how the service operates: