Launching in a new country has become a science for Blablacar, although their 14th market & 1st Asian market will put the French carpooling startup to the test. The Indian market will double the total market addressed by Blablacar, even when only counting the few hundred million citizens who are mobile between major cities.
India has been a hot market for transportation startups in the past few months. In addition to the launch of Rocket Internet project Tripda in India, Uber took heavy heat last month after one driver was jailed after rape allegations surfaces, allegations which saw the service temporarily shut down, though it is currently back up and running, having since introduced background checks for all drivers.
Blablacar is not without its driver incidents – after one passenger came forwards in the north of France claiming they believe they had been drugged, La Voix du Nord reported that several women came forward with reports of being offered chocolate by a Blablacar driver, and subsequently falling asleep during the ride. The driver has since been detained and is being investigated for sexual assault. Blablacar managed this potential crisis well, with little to no recoil in France or abroad, by working immediately with authorities and by falling back on their TrustMan framework which the company worked to build in the past year and a half.
Blablacar, too, has been working itself up to more and more difficult challenges in terms of markets. The company’s fundraising came just months after its successful launch in the Ukraine & Russia, and the company has since launched in Turkey as well. India will, undoubtedly, be their biggest challenge yet, though.