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BlaBlaCar raises $115m to build all-in-one travel app

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Paris, April 21 (IANS) Car-pooling platform BlaBlaCar has raised a new $115 million funding round to accelerate its expansion strategy, as it plans to build an all-in-one travel app.

The new round of funding includes existing investor VNV Global, as well as new investors, namely — Otiva J/F AB, an investment company created by Jonas Nordlander and Filip Engelbert, former Chairman Investments at Alibaba Group who served on the boards of both Lyft and Tripadvisor are among others.

“The Covid-19 crisis has been a real test on the resilience of various models in the travel sector,” Nicolas Brusson, co-founder and CEO, BlaBlaCar, said in a blogpost.

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“The BlaBlaCar community-based model with a zero fixed-costs and flexible network came out as a clear winner. This additional funding strengthens our position and brings more firepower to deploy our offensive growth strategy,” Brusson added.

The company has grown from being the world’s leading carpooling community to becoming the go-to marketplace for shared travel, with over 90 million members travelling by carpool or long-distance buses across 22 markets.

The funding will support the platform’s fast growth in these markets and its ability to seize attractive M&A opportunities to lead the offline to online shift in ground transportation, the company said.

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As vaccination progresses and travel restrictions are lifted, BlaBlaCar sees travel resuming fast, with a preference for safe, local and affordable travel.

The company also announced the acquisition of Ukrainian company Octobus.

Octobus has developed a state-of-the-art Inventory Management System to help digitalise bus supply.

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This acquisition will reinforce BlaBlaCar’s ability to support the digitalisation of bus carriers outside of Europe, where bus operators are still selling most of their tickets offline, and where BlaBlaCar is leading the online transition, the company said.

–IANS

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