Daimler Doubles Down On Regulator-Friendly Ride-Booking Services
The German car-booking service Blacklane has raised its largest-yet financing round, in an eight-figure Series C round.
What’s particularly interesting about this round is that it was led by existing investor Daimler (DDAIF), which wants Blacklane to expand its global business.
Daimler (or more specifically its Daimler Financial Services business) is very active on the mobility services front at the moment. Last week it merged its mytaxi ride-hailing service with the U.K.’s Hailo, fusing complementary territories to make the combined operation a real force in Europe.
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What do Blacklane and mytaxi/Hailo have in common? Both are much more likely than key competitor Uber to stay on the right side of regulators.
Blacklane is essentially a traditional chauffeured limo service that uses only insured, professional drivers and generally tries to scoop up corporate customers and holiday-makers who want to, for example, prebook rides to airports using the convenience of a modern app.
Mytaxi and Hailo are more Uber-like, but they’re essentially portals for regular cabs.
These companies have had brushes with regulators—mytaxi hit a hurdle in Germany over its discounted fares, and Blacklane had a minor hiccup with Smart cars—but nothing on the scale of Uber’s all-out regulatory wars.
“We want to offer flexible and innovative mobility services to our customers. Our investment in Blacklane as a global professional driver service is an important part of this strategy,” said Daimler Financial Services CEO Klaus Entenmann in a Monday statement.
For more on ride-hailing, watch our video.
It’s not entirely clear how big this new financing round is, although some simple math suggests it’s bigger than $20 million—Blacklane’s 2013 Series B was originally €14 million (around $19 million at the time) before Japan’s Recruit Holdings threw in a few million more in 2014.
Blacklane said Monday that it would use the new funds to expand around the world, particularly in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. It’s already present in over 200 cities and 400 airports in 50 countries.
It will also use the cash to further develop its apps and technology, strike more deals with the travel industry and “grow the team at its Berlin headquarters and beyond.”