The idea of carpooling somehow reminds me of German university towns in the 1970s. However, this concept was developed by a Frenchman 12 yeas ago – to become one of the most successful European digital companies.
The name alone is a marketing sensation. BlaBlaCar is the car-sharing agency for the digital age: with safe and easy user guidance. This company which was founded in Paris in 2006 and now operates in 22 countries is more than a web-based functional intermediation platform. It operates in countries such as Brazil, India, Russia and Turkey. In Germany the service is still free of charge because the company is unknown. Right from the start the idea has been to establish a travel search engine with a community character; this hits the right note in a generation for which the functions and benefits of social networks are a natural part of everyday life.
Mobility is changing
Frédéric Mazzella is the founder and visionary of BlaBlaCar. He was educated in Stanford and is part of the new professional start-up management generation. Frédéric Mazzella was the one who had the idea a few years ago of creating a successful carpooling platform based not just on a refined technical concept but especially on the idea of sharing. As the CEO he works to further develop the BlaBlaCar idea and to improve the platform services on an ongoing basis. In addition to strategic orientation he is responsible for brand and corporate communication and has become very involved with the BlaBlaCar community.
Investors are extremely keen on this company which is even less oriented to profit and more interested in market share. Even the drivers don’t earn much from the journeys. A journey from Berlin to Munich for example costs approximately 15 euros.
Federal government passes CarSharing act
BlaBlaCar is about to organise 500,000,000 car journeys around the world. For car journeys are no longer dependent on ownership. In addition to car-sharing agencies traditional car hire companies are providing vehicles on a flexible basis. Moreover, the taxi demon Uber as well as new car-sharing providers are in the market. The latter are supported by federal law and a corresponding bill has been passed. It allows cities and municipalities to set up parking places for car sharing in public streets on a sound legal basis. The intention is especially to relieve inner-cities and urban residential districts of intense parking pressure and unnecessary car volumes.
And because mobility is changing, car manufacturers around the world are becoming involved in digital platforms providing new forms of mobility. Blablacar are continuously developing their services. People can now also book city trips via the platform. This is where we see a coalescence of mobility and travel providers.