The French unicorn Blablacar has announced big news: it has raised €101 million and is acquiring Ouibus from the French railway company SNCF for an undisclosed amount. Interestingly, SNCF also participated in Blablacar’s funding round, along with existing investors. Blablacar will use the acquisition to expand its services beyond ride-sharing and into bus travel.
Since August 2017, Blablacar has helped to transport 50 million passengers worldwide, growing 40% year-on-year, while Ouibus has built a bus network connecting 300 large cities in France and Europe, and has transported more than 12 million passengers. BlaBlaCar connects more than 30,000 meeting points across France alone.
The acquisition will enable OuiBus (which has been operating at a loss) to take advantage of the strength of BlaBlaCar and its 65 million users across 22 countries, with plans to deploy the service internationally.
By combining these two complementary travel solutions, BlaBlaCar will optimise vehicle occupancy rates for buses and cars and offer a convenient door-to-door solution for travellers.
Frédéric Mazzella, President and Founder of BlaBlaCar, said: “This project fits with our vision to offer a shared, convenient, and affordable mobility solution, whilst reducing the environmental impact of road travel. Our mission has always been to fill up empty vehicles, and a full bus produces ten times less CO2 per person than someone alone in their car.”
Nicolas Brusson, co-Founder and CEO of BlaBlaCar, added: “We are excited to consider joining forces with the OuiBus team to enable travellers to find diverse mobility solutions on BlaBlaCar that suit their range of needs. This project supports our ambition to grow a broad mobility offer across Europe, combining cars and buses.”
Guillaume Pepy, President of SNCF, added: “We are convinced that to offer more trains, we need to offer more than trains. We need to be able to offer our travellers the possibility to go from departure point to destination, by combining sustainable modes of transport with a railway backbone. This joint project aims to make our customers’ journeys easier, and reduce the single occupancy of cars on the road.”