"The past two years were a great learning experience about how to build something from zero. We see BlaBlaCar as a global and contemporary school on how to build something with big impact", said Istvan Haidekker, co-founder of AutoHop about the acquisition.
BlaBlaCar gathered a $100 million round last summer for its expansion in and beyond Europe. BlaBlaCar ‘acqui-hired’ AutoHop, meaning that apart from adding active local ridesharing communities to the global platform the most important element of the acquisition was the local team. The AutoHop team will continue to serve members from Croatia, Serbia, Hungary and Romania and will be fully integrated into BlaBlaCar. AutoHop will become a part of BlaBlaCar, but it will still remain locally independent.
AutoHop just recently entered the Croatian, Romanian, and Serbian markets last summer when the founders decided to build a trust based ridesharing community and make it an important part of the transportation network in the CEE.
Customer acquisition could be somewhat tricky in these countries, but AutoHop has been able to create a trust-based community and expand it fast to become a regional leader. With the know-how and the recourses of BlaBlaCar they will be able to grow the community and achieve the goal they originally set out much faster.
Car ownership and fuel cost in Croatia, Serbia, Romania and Hungary are almost the same as in Western Europe, but the average income level is still lower so traveling by car without sharing a ride is quite expensive for the driver, even more expensive if he has to pay the tolls. At the same time, the quality of city to city public transportation does not always provide the best solution and is expensive. BlaBlaCar can help Passengers save on average 50% in cost and 25-50% in time spent vs. both bus and train.