“Russia, Ukraine, Brazil, India are more attractive to BlaBlaCar than France”

BlaBlaCar co-owner Nicholas Brusan tells how his company has established itself in the Russian market.

Co-owner, CEO of BlaBlaCar Nicholas Brusan / Vladislav Shatila / RBC / TASS

In 2003, Frenchman Frederic Mazel almost missed Christmas in the family circle. He worked in Paris and his parents lived 500 km away. Train tickets were almost all sold out, and the remaining ones, departing at 5 a.m., cost a fortune. Mazel was then picked up by her sister. And he had an idea to make an online service to search for satellites. He called for the help of friends, including Nicolas Brusan. So in 2006 BlaBlaCar was founded. Now Mazel is its president and Brusan is its CEO. Now that the company operates in 22 countries, Brusan’s name sounds more international: Nicholas.

During its existence, BlaBlaCar has attracted $ 563.5 million in investments, the last time in April this year – $ 115 million with an estimated total of $ 2 billion.

BlaBlaCar has been operating in Russia since 2014. For a long time in our country the service was free, the company introduced a service fee for passengers for booking trips only a year ago.

But BlaBlaCar is not just carpooling. She sells tickets for long-distance buses online, for which she bought a Busfor aggregator in Russia at the end of 2019.

Many have tried to replicate the BlaBlaCar model, including about a dozen startups in Russia, but not all have survived. Why it worked BlaBlaCar and what other projects the company is developing, Bruson tells in an interview with “Vedomosti”.

– Nicholas, are you a BlaBlaCar customer?

– Yes, I use BlaBlaCar sometimes as a passenger, but usually as a driver.

– What brand do you drive?

– BlaBlaCar customers have a rating of speech from the French word bla-bla (translated as “chatter”, “la-la”). The silent ones have one “blah”, and the most talkative ones have three. How much do you have?

– Three: “blah blah blah.” And the driver’s rating is 4.8 points [из 5]That is very good.

– What is the main difference between BlaBlaCar and services like Uber?

– First of all, Uber, Yandex.Taxi and other similar services are mostly [внутри]city ​​services. [Сервис] BlaBlaCar is designed to move between cities. Another important difference – Uber and its counterparts provide commercial services for the transportation of passengers, they employ professional drivers, simply put – taxi drivers. At the request of the client, they will take you to the right place for the passenger. But the driver himself does not need it. For example, at the airport. And BlaBlaCar is a carpool, its drivers are ordinary people who go about their business. They will not go from Moscow to St. Petersburg just to bring you. They will go to St. Petersburg, because they need to go there themselves. If they have free seats in the car, they can take companions with them. But unlike Uber, the money received from the passenger will at best recoup the cost of petrol and depreciation.

2000

came to work at Gemfire Corporation (USA), which develops equipment for fiber optic networks

2006

became one of the founders of BlaBlaCar

Take a driver from Brussels, who constantly travels to Paris for work. It is about 300 km. If he takes three passengers, he will get about 55 euros. The amount is calculated based on the average fuel consumption per 100 km, the length of the route and the cost of fuel in the region. The passenger usually pays a quarter to a third of the driver’s travel expenses, and it doesn’t matter if he’s alone in the cabin or not. (Russian drivers connected to the BlaBlaCar service on December 13 charged for a trip from Moscow to St. Petersburg from 550 to 1460 rubles, from Moscow to Nizhny Novgorod from 380 to 1290 rubles – “Vedomosti”.) The cost of a taxi will be disproportionately higher.

– What is the difference in the tariff for a petrol car and an electric car?

– We do not take into account this parameter.

“We face other challenges than Uber”

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