BlaBlaCar zooms into startup record books

Ride-sharing company BlaBlaBar announced that it had broken all records for a French start-up after revealing it was now valued at $1.6 billion - enough to earn it the grand status of being a "unicorn".

BlaBlaCar zooms into startup record books
The co-founders of BlaBlaCar, no doubt overjoyed to be valued at over $1 billion. Photo: AFP
BlaBlaCar,  a Paris-based app that allows motorists and passengers to meet and share a car journey, saving both the driver and the passenger expenses, has become the toast of the French start-up scene.
The French group reported a $200 million investment on Wednesday, enough to send it soaring into the company of the “start-up unicorns” – that is start-ups valued at more than $1 billion, based on fundraising. 
After announcing the massive investment on Wednesday BlaBlaCar said it was now valued at €1.4 billion ($1.6 billion).
Becoming a start-up unicorn is no mean feat, although it is becoming more common. 
Fortune magazine noted that there are only 138 start-up unicorns in the world, but this figure has shot up from just 80 in January. 
Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron took to Twitter to congratulate the company, welcoming them to “the big time”. 
BlaBlaCar’s founder and CEO, Frédéric Mazzella, said in a statement: “It has been exhilarating to see our vision resonate with so many people globally, as BlaBlaCar’s community has rapidly scaled and flourished in every new market. We’ve built a unique activity based on the values of true sharing, and this funding will help unleash even more of its potential over the coming years.”
Nicolas Brusson, the co-founder of Blablacar, told the magazine that the company, now worth €1.4 billion ($1.6 billion), would be looking at using the investment to spread globally.
“In Europe, we’ve been deploying a new way to travel,” he said. 
“It’s been in countries that always have numerous options; they have rail, bus, even their own car, there have always been other solutions. In India and Russia, and to some extent in Turkey and Mexico, the infrastructure is quite insufficient.”
BlaBlaCar has around 20 million members across 19 countries, mainly in Europe but also in India and Mexico. 

(Founder of BlaBlaCar Frederic Mazzella. Photo: AFP)

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Why you’ll soon be able to set up a company in Spain with just €1 rather than €3,000

The Spanish government has approved a new draft law that will allow companies to start up with just €1 and for the process to be carried out quickly and entirely online.

Why you'll soon be able to set up a company in Spain with just €1 rather than €3,000
How you can start a business in Spain for just €1. Photo: Javier Soriano/AFP

Currently, you must have to have a minimum of €3,000 to form a Limited Company in Spain, but if passed, the new bill will require you to only have €1, allowing the process to be completed electronically in just 10 days.

By doing this, the law includes measures to diversify sources of financing and promote non-bank financing, on which the majority of companies depend.

The bill’s main objective is to remove obstacles in the creation of companies in Spain.

The draft bill also looks at expanding activities for which you won’t need to obtain a license and promotes the use of electronic invoicing between companies and the self-employed, which will contribute to the digitisation of business activities.

Another aspect that the bill covers are ways to support financing for business growth, such as venture capital and crowdfunding platforms.

The Vice President and Minister of Economy and Digital Transformation, Nadia Calviño, has indicated that this is one of the “most important” structural reforms of the Recovery and Resilience Plan which Spain submitted to the EU, and is aimed at “improving the performance and productivity of companies, as well as job creation “.

Defaults are one of the main problems that threaten business solvency for many Spanish companies because invoices are often not paid by the maximum legal term of 60 days. This problem particularly affects the self-employed, who allow large companies to take much longer to pay invoices for fear of losing more work or damaging relationships in the future.

For this reason, they do not usually demand legal compensations such as recovery costs or indemnities, even though it puts pressure on their margins.

To combat the wide non-compliance with this maximum period between companies, the new bill also suggests an incentive system for meeting payment deadlines and implementing electronic invoicing.

Together with the Startups Law and digital nomad visa, which the government also recently proposed, it aims to promote entrepreneurship and tackle the problems faced by Spanish companies, which makes it difficult for them to grow, go international or restructure debt.

READ ALSO: Tax cuts and special visas: Spain’s new law to attract foreign startups and digital nomads

Spain ranks only number 30 out of 190 in the World Bank’s ‘Doing Business’ report in terms of business climate, behind many other EU countries.  

The bill is expected to reach the Congress of Deputies at the end of this year and if passed, will come into force in 2022.

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