An Amsterdam office to lead the Benelux

On 26 May, the French ride-share company BlaBlaCar opened an office in Amsterdam, with the new Amsterdam team to begin managing the Benelux countries. According to BlaBlaCar, the sharing economy is booming in the Benelux, which means that these countries offer enormous potential to the city-to-city ride-sharing industry.

The new branch in the Netherlands is BlaBlaCar’s 16th international office, and will be led by Shana Smeets, Country Manager Benelux. "I am delighted that we are opening a new office in Amsterdam,” she told the Dutch site MarketingTribune. “With a permanent and dedicated team, we will be able to expand the current community at the local level. Another advantage is that we will be able to respond to local events, and will be closer to potential partners.” 

Amsterdam a breeding ground for startups

As Nicolas Brusson, the co-founder and COO of BlaBlaCar, told Dutch business-news site RTL-Z, "The Netherlands is a breeding ground for startups, and that makes it a good place for us to set up shop there. With the opening of the office in Amsterdam and a permanent local team on the ground, we are entering a new phase.”

BlaBlaCar connects passengers looking for long-distance journeys to drivers who are going in the same direction. They travel together, and share the travel expenses. Members can even specify how much they feel like talking during the ride, on a scale of “bla” to “bla-bla-bla”, which is where BlaBlaCar gets its name from.

BlaBlaCar is one of the best-funded startups in Europe, and is also one of the continent’s few “unicorns,” the industry term for startups that are valued at more than one billion euros. This puts BlaBlaCar in the same league as Amsterdam’s own startup success story Adyen.