Daimler-Backed Luxury Taxi Startup Raises Funds After Tough Year

Blacklane GmbH, a Berlin-based chauffeuring startup, raised 22 million euros ($26 million) from existing investors to help it roll out new businesses after taking a deep hit from the coronavirus pandemic.

The company, which works with driving services to offer consumers premium rides, said the funds came from existing investors, including Daimler AG. The company’s value increased from a previous round in 2018, Blacklane said without disclosing the amount.

After reaching monthly revenues of around 10 million euros before the outbreak, the crisis sent that figure tumbling 99% as Blacklane’s airport transfer service saw a particularly sharp drop, Chief Executive Officer Jens Wohltorf said in an interview. The company is now starting to see a rebound in some markets and is building out new services like intercity trips.

“Now is the best time to invest in such a crisis,” Wohltorf said. “There is a lot of market share available out there.”

Starting this month, customers are able to order chauffeurs from Blacklane’s driving services in 22 cities via an app that will compete with Uber Technologies Inc. and other ride-hailing companies.

Wohltorf also said the company will consider a potential initial public offering in 2023 after its reorganization. The funding round brings the total amount Blacklane has raised to more than 100 million euros, he said.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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