BlaBlaCar, the world’s largest long-distance ridesharing community, yesterday announced the acquisition of carpooling.com, the second-largest service, as well as Hungary-based Autohop. It will integrate the businesses into its existing service to create a unified ridesharing experience across Europe, from Amsterdam to Zagreb, becoming one of the largest sharing economy platforms in the world.
BlaBlaCar’s people-powered, city-to-city transport service connects people who need to travel long distances with drivers already going the same way, so they can travel together and share the cost. Each passenger makes a fair contribution for their seat, and drivers cover their fuel and tolls costs but do not make a profit. Its existing operations include Benelux, Croatia, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.
On the other side, founded in 2001 and backed by Daimler and venture capital firm Earlybird, carpooling.com (known as mitfahrgelegenheit.de in Germany) is the oldest long-distance service in Germany and shaped ridesharing in the country over the past 14 years, while building a well-respected service.
The acquisition of carpooling.com will significantly broaden BlaBlaCar’s existing community in Germany, the most populous country in Europe. Its team in Munich will become BlaBlaCar’s 11th regional office and work alongside BlaBlaCar’s existing German operations in Hamburg.
In the same time, AutoHop will bring four new countries, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Croatia, into the BlaBlaCar community. Since its launch in 2012 in Budapest, AutoHop rapidly expanded to become the leading ridesharing platform in its region. Its headquarters in Budapest will become BlaBlaCar’s regional office, led by the original founding team as in other BlaBlaCar past acquisitions.
Nicolas Brusson, co-founder and COO of BlaBlaCar, said: “We are very pleased to complete this significant acquisition and join forces with carpooling.com. BlaBlaCar and carpooling.com have been pursuing the same goal for years, and now we are creating a truly unified European ridesharing community. A great leap forward for peer-to-peer transport, these acquisitions demonstrate that the sharing economy is consolidating – this is positive news for consumers, as sharing services create new, social and more affordable consumer choices at real scale.”
Markus Barnikel, CEO of carpooling.com, adds: “The whole carpooling.com team in Munich is looking forward to working with the global BlaBlaCar team and, together, taking city-to-city ridesharing to the next level.”
BlaBlaCar’s founder and CEO Frédéric Mazzella, said: “Demand for trusted ridesharing across our markets in Europe is phenomenal, and merging our community with that of carpooling.com and Autohop will create a better, more fully integrated experience for our members across Germany and Central and Eastern Europe. Our combined community in these markets creates a transportation alternative of real significance.”