Today German mobility software startup Bliq has closed a heavily oversubscribed seed funding round of €2 million. The Berlin-based investor Amplifier Ventures led the round with New York-based Space Capital, with Atlantic Labs, Proeza Ventures, Revel and the angel investor Andreas Kupke also participating in the round. The Bliq Ride app aids self-employed drivers (so-called gig workers) in the organisation of their rides and displays all ridesharing providers in one app. The new funding will go towards Bliq’s European expansion and further develop the functional scope of Bliq Ride.
Bliq has been active in the German market since 2018 and has so far offered its Bliq Ride service in Cologne, Berlin, and Munich. Bliq’s business model is based on the growing alternative transport industry, where providers such as Uber, Free Now, and Bolt place orders with independent drivers.
The average ridesharing driver covers 10-20 times as many kilometres per day as a normal car driver. By harnessing the power of smartphones, the Bliq Ride Community forms a network of drivers which provide real-time data regarding the road traffic from every corner of a city. Bliq then uses edge computing and artificial intelligence to process huge amounts of current traffic and user data to deliver driver insights.
Bliq Ride displays high demand passenger regions together with areas overpopulated with other drivers to enable users to strategically position themselves and enhance their earnings. One of the most popular features is payment verification which automatically sends a message to the provider and recoups driver earnings in the case of disparities. Registered drivers can also use an in-app chat feature to share information and real-time road obstacles.
“Until recently, innovations in urban mobility have always focused on the end-user. The workers, the drivers who work every day for many of these services, have been left out. With Bliq, we are making it easier for drivers to do their daily work and ensure greater equality in a market dominated by a few powerful players. We are excited to use this investment to expand our services to drivers outside of Germany,” said Julian Glaab, CEO of Bliq.
In May 2019, the Chinese ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing had around 21 million drivers worldwide, while the ridesharing pioneer Uber employed around 3.9 million drivers at the time. The ride-hailing market is massive but the working conditions of millions of gig workers in the transport industry are determined by a handful of companies. Drivers are often at a disadvantage and have to spend most of their working time waiting for new services, often earning far below the minimum wage.
“Bliq Ride levels the playing field for gig workers by providing them with access to more information and allowing them to secure the most lucrative business from different providers within the one app,” said Siobhan Brewster, Partner at Amplifier Ventures. “Bliq is building a powerful productivity tool whilst generating incredibly useful street-level intelligence. We are excited to support them on this journey and on their mission to empower disenfranchised rideshare drivers.”