LISBON – French Carpooling platform BlaBlaCar has successfully expanded into Brazil and Mexico and is now mulling future moves farther afield in the Latin American market, its co-founder Nicolas Brusson told EFE.
“There are very interesting markets we could open, namely Argentina, Chile, Colombia,” he said during an interview at the tech congress Web Summit in Lisbon, adding, however, that plans to expand out of Mexico and Brazil, where the service has performed well in rapidly growing markets, would come further down the line.
Unlike in Europe, BlaBlaCar has still not activated its online booking model in Mexico or Brazil and therefore does not make revenue in the two countries but Brusson said those measures could come into effect in the coming years.
BlaBlaCar allows drivers to carpool their trips. Passengers pay the driver through an app or online.
For the moment, the goal is to expand in Mexico and Brazil, where the market is doubling.
“Outside Latin America, there are lots of markets in Africa, for instance, that we haven’t even yet looked at, where if you look what carpooling could bring to those markets where transport is not that efficient, I think it could be pretty massive.”
The company launched in France in 2006 and began its international expansion with Spain in 2010, where it has 5 million users.
The Spanish market is strong but atypical, Brusson said, given that it has been left out of the company’s latest venture to become a multimodal platform.
Now, a large part of the 80 million BlaBlaCar users have two options – carsharing or bus.
Last year, the company acquired OuiBus, which this summer began operating under BlaBlaBus – operated by partners–, and it recently bought Busfor, an aggregator for 70 percent of bus services in Ukraine and Russia.
Brusson said he would not rule out incorporating rail journeys to the platform, which could allow users to combine a variety of transport methods to get from A to B.
BlaBlaBus was not launched in Spain as the bus services are not liberalized.
Another venture for the French company is BlaBlaLines, which is aimed at commuters who share the same journey to work every day.
This service is only being rolled out in France for the moment.
“For us it’s the holy grail because if you manage to convince a big chunk of our 80 million users globally to start sharing their car, not just when they go on weekend or holiday, which is the main use case, but every day when they use the car to go to work.”
He said that the method would help tackle CO2 emissions.
BlaBlaCar itself help reduce emissions by 1.6 million tons of CO2 last year alone, according to an internal study.