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Updated at 5:08 a.m. PST with comment from BlaBlaCar.
Ride-sharing giant BlaBlaCar has reportedly raised $160 million, an amount that would set a new record for a French company and usher it into the increasingly less-exclusive club of tech unicorns.
TechCrunch today said that, according to its sources, Paris-based BlaBlaCar closed the round led by Insight Venture Partners at a valuation of $1.2 billion. Bloomberg had previously reported this summer that BlaBlaCar was seeking to raise a new mega-round that would value it at over $1 billion.
We’ve reached out to BlaBlaCar, Insight and previous investors for comment.
If reports are true, this latest round comes just over a year after BlaBlaCar raised $100 million to fuel its expansion outside of Europe, where it has become hugely popular. It would also top the $115 million raised by Sigfox, a French IoT company based near Toulouse, that holds the current French VC record.
BlaBlaCar focuses on ride-sharing over longer distances between cities, rather than local short-haul rides like those covered by Uber and Lyft.
A BlaBlaCar driver who is planning a trip offers space in their car to other passengers for a fee. Because those fees technically help cover the cost of a ride the driver already plans to make (rather than generating a profit), BlaBlaCar has avoided the regulatory headaches that have confronted Uber in Europe.
BlaBlaCar has said it has no immediate plans to launch in the U.S. But the new round would likely help it continue to add new countries elsewhere.
Update: In an email, BlaBlaCar spokesperson Eliza Dabney wrote: “We can confirm that BlaBlaCar’s founders are speaking with investors, and we’ll be in touch when there is news to share.”
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