One of France biggest startups and amongst the world’s largest carpool companies wants to revolutionize the way Indians Travel. BlaBlaCar, the city-to-city ride sharing service available across Europe, Russia, and Turkey, has arrived in India on January 14, 2015. The company is opening its ninth office in the capital city and it had plans to expand into India, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.
As in its other 13 other markets in which over two million people use its service, BlaBlaCar lets drivers offers ride from one city to another, and share the cost with co-travelers who sign up for the journey making the trip more affordable than traveling separately. It has launched services in Delhi and Gurgaon on Wednesday. India is the first stop in Asia, for the 10-year-old company that has built an online community of 10 Million across 13 countries so far.
Last July, it received $100 Million in funding from a slew of investors including Accel Partners and Index Ventures, when it first announced its interest in emerging markets including India, Brazil, and Turkey. Unlike taxi aggregators who have been asked to register as radio taxi operators, carpooling services in India are not bound by regulation yet. Brazil Tripda, which is backed by German Incubator Rocket Internet, launched its Indian operations last November by offering ride sharing between cities. Meanwhile, a number of local players like RidingO, SmartMumbaikar, and ZingHopper, offer similar services in India.
BlaBlaCar, which draws its quirky name from one of the features that users display on their profile on the company’s platform, expects users to log in using their Facebook profile. They can often choose the driver they want to ride with based on profiles. In Spain, Poland, and France, BlaBlaCar charges an 11% commission on each ride per person. In India too, commuters will have to sign on through their Facebook profile, and book a ride with a driver they are likely to be comfortable with. While the service will be free for the first year, the company will later take a percentage out of every booking.