Careers at BlaBlaCar
BlaBlaCar operates and develops a long-distance ride-sharing platform that connects drivers and passengers who will share the cost of long car journeys.
BlaBlaCar was founded in 2006 by Frédéric Mazzella (“Mazzella”), Nicolas Brusson (“Brusson”) and Francis Nappez (“Nappez”). The concept for the Company’s ride-sharing service can be traced back to Mazzella’s time as a student at Stanford University. The widely shared story is that in 2003 Mazzella was trying to make his way home for Christmas. He had no car of his own and all trains were fully booked up. He noticed that lots of people were driving home with spare seats in their cars, and it occurred to him that there should be a system through which he could find a drivers going in his direction and offer to share petrol costs in exchange for use of an empty seat.
Mazzella envisioned an online platform that would make long-distance travel affordable, social and efficient, deciding that a peer-to-peer marketplace would serve his purpose best. Mazzella coded the first version of the website himself, later bringing on board engineer Nappez to help develop a platform and MBA student Brusson to help finance and scale the business. In 2008 the founders launched an updated version of the original website, with additional features including iOS and Android apps. By 2010 the Company had more than 600,000 members and was attracting more than 10 million page views per month.
BlaBlaCar has since expanded significantly, with 25 million users across 22 countries. The Company to date has raised more than $336 million from investors including Accel, Insight Venture Partners, Index Ventures and Lead Edge Capital. BlaBlaCar closed its most recent round of funding in 2015, raising €200 million at a valuation of approximately $1.5 billion. BlaBlaCar has reportedly received more than 50 awards and prizes since its establishment, including the Bronze Edison Award in 2015 in the Motoring Solutions category and the 2014 ECCO Award for Best Member Relations in Europe.
Business model of BlaBlaCar
BlaBlaCar’s platform is aimed at users that want to save money on long-distance travel – the average journey distance being 213 miles – avoiding the high costs associated with plane and train travel, as well as at environmentally conscious consumers that wish to reduce their carbon footprint.
The platform has around 25 million registered members in 22 countries, primarily across Europe, but also in Brazil, Mexico and India. It attracts both solo drivers that wish to recoup some travel costs or have some company for the duration of their journey and passengers that have no means of transportation themselves. According to the Company’s own information, around 71% of BlaBlaCar users are passengers, while 54% are male.
The BlaBlaCar platform allows customers to save money on long-distance travel by sharing costs with one or more other users. The platform’s community functionality makes the process of car travel a safer and more social experience, meaning drivers do not have to make long journeys alone.
The Company’s rating and review system also allows users to view and asses their potential ride-share partners before accepting a journey. As security can be of particular concern to female users of ride-sharing services, BlaBlaCar offers a Ladies Only option, allowing members to create journeys where the driver and all passengers are women.
All BlaBlaCar journeys are insured free of charge, with ride-shares not affecting the existing insurance policies of drivers. Additionally, BlaBlaCar encourages a more environmentally friendly approach to car travel, making use of otherwise empty car seats.
The BlaBlaCar platform can be accessed through mobile and desktop browsers at its various regional websites, such as www.blablacar.co.uk, www.blablacar.fr, www.blablacar.in and www.blablacar.ro. BlaBlaCar users can also manage their accounts, find rides, and connect with passengers through the Company’s free iOS and Android mobile apps.
The BlaBlaCar platform is available on a self-service basis. Users can register and set up an account through the Company’s website, or via its mobile apps, without having to interact directly with BlaBlaCar representatives. Once registration is complete users can access the platform’s full suite of options, searching for rides and passengers, rating other users, and recording payment details.
The Company provides support to its users through FAQs and online contact forms. The Company also keeps its user updated with developments to the platform through its blog, and enables its customers to interact with BlaBlaCar representatives directly through its Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube accounts.
BlaBlaCar develops, maintains and markets a ride-sharing platform that connects drivers with passengers that are willing to share the cost of long, inter-city car journeys. BlaBlaCar’s platform incorporates social functionality that includes ratings and reviews by other members, social network verification, and rate of response information. This service allows drivers to cover a proportion of their travels costs and allows passengers to avoid high-costs associated with plane and train journeys.
The Company also provides dedicated customer service to its users and manages a network of marketing and affiliate partners.
BlaBlaCar manages a network partners, including marketing affiliates, travel companies and concession operators. All BlaBlaCar rides in France and the UK are covered by ride-sharing insurance underwritten by AXA. The Company offers free Driver and Find a Ride widgets that can be embedded into websites to promote car sharing as an economical and practical transport alternative. These widgets are particularly aimed at organisations and venues that attract high numbers of visitors such as universities, festivals, and tourist sites.
BlaBlaCar has also entered into marketing partnerships with travel operators and marketplaces. It has recently collaborated with IRTCT, a subsidiary of Indian railways, to advertise its ride-sharing services to users looking to book tickets for city-to-city journeys, and with travel marketplace Ixigo.
BlaBlaCar has also established a partnership with European motorway concession operator VINCI Autoroutes, which now offers an automated toll payment that is valid for two long-distance ride-share trips per month reserved on BlaBlaCar and made on the VINCI Autoroutes network.
BlaBlaCar’s key resources are its software platform, its IT infrastructure, and its marketing partners. The platform’s community of drivers and passengers are also a key resource, with their shared activity accounting for the entirety of the Company’s revenue.
Searches of record held by France’s National Institute of Industrial Property identified no patent applications filed in the name of BlaBlaCar or Comuto.
BlaBlaCar incurs costs in relation to the retention of its 360 employees and the maintenance of its software platform and IT infrastructure. The Company also accrues costs relating to marketing and advertising, including the management of its marketing partnerships, as well as fixed costs in the form of rent and utilities for its network of 22 offices.
BlaBlaCar generates revenue by taking a commission on fees paid by passengers to BlaBlaCar drivers. For every payment made by passengers to cover the travel expenses of their driver, BlaBlaCar takes a cut of 12%. Under this transactional business model, drivers set a price per seat onto which BlaBlaCar adds a small amount to cover its 12% fee.
While the Company does not disclose its annual revenue figures, it has claimed that it has 2 million customers who use its services every month and that the average ride charge was around $25. Using these figures Business Insider estimated that the Company could generate as much as $72 million in annual revenue, assuming these regular users take one trip per month.
info: Frédéric has served as BlaBlaCar’s Chief Executive Officer since co-founding the Company in 2006. He began his career as a consultant at Blue Pumpkin in 1999, simultaneously serving as a research assistant at NASA. He left Blue Pumpkin after and joined telecommunications company NTT Communications as a research assistant. Mazzella left his role at NASA in 2002, moving to computing solutions company Kabira where he worked as a project manager until co-founding BlaBlaCar.
info: Nicolas has been BlaBlaCar’s Chief Operating Officer since 2007. During his time at BlaBlaCar he has also served as a board observer at IT services company Secerno, an investment manager at Amadeus Capital Partners, and as a board member at SEO platform Linkdex and software company Octotelematics. He has previously held roles in the technology and telecommunications spheres. In 2000 he joined lighting and optical signal switching company DiCon FiberOptics as an optical engineer. After less than a year, Brusson moved to telecoms technology company Gemfire where he worked for six years.
info: Francis was appointed BlaBlaCar’s Chief Technology Officer in 2008. He is a web developer by trade, beginning his career in 2000 as a web developer at French telecoms and internet company Iliad. In 2003 he joined mobile services company Airweb, where he worked as a project manager for just over two years. His last role before assuming his current executive function was as a mobile development manager at dating services company Meetic.
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