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Rideshare Firm BlaBlaCar Raises $108 Million as IPO Plan Stalls

Today In Payments Around The World: BlaBlaCar Lands $115 Million; FIS Grows Capabilities Into South Africa, Nigeria, Malaysia

BlaBlaCar has raised $108 million in credit as it awaits a better IPO market.

CEO Nicolas Brusson told Bloomberg News — in an interview published Wednesday (April 3) — that the French carpooling company enjoyed its first profitable year in 2023 following a “pretty rough” pandemic, with net sales up 29% and 80 million passengers booking trips via its app.

Before the pandemic, Brusson had talked of an initial public offering (IPO) for BlaBlaCar in the coming years but has since changed his mind.

“We’re not in a process to do an IPO and I don’t think we will be fairly soon,” he said, adding that the startup needed to expand by two or threefold. “Hence, the focus is to stay private, do the type of financing we just did, and grow.”

According to the report, the company plans to use most of the new credit it has gotten to acquire smaller online travel marketplaces and agencies, especially in fast-growing markets like Brazil, Mexico and India. 

“It does not make sense to raise equity and take a massive dilution if you’re profitable,” Brusson told Bloomberg.

As noted last month, investors might be readying themselves for an IPO renaissance, though the PYMNTS’ FinTech IPO Index might serve as a “buyer beware” warning.

“There’s demand brewing for deal-making, for startups to be snapped up in the bid to buy rather than build operations, and for FinTech firms, in particular, to go public as they raise capital,” that report said.

Among the standouts is Monzo, which raised more than $430 million in a funding round in March. Zilch may be among the firms going public, giving additional opportunities for investors to play in the buy now, pay later (BNPL) arena. 

Klarna is also in the running to go public, with BNPL expected to be a major area of growth in the months and years ahead, considering the resilience of consumer spending.  And as PYMNTS Intelligence research has shown, the idea of stretching payments over time appeals to consumers across all income levels.

“However, as March got underway, of the nearly four dozen FinTechs tracked by PYMNTS Intelligence, only five names have been trading above their offer price,” the report said. “Despite the 55% gain in the FinTech IPO Index recorded for 2023, the absolute returns to date have been, at best, spotty.”