Abu Dhabi-backed chauffeur service Blacklane to open first US offices

Uber rival, whose shareholders include Al Fahim Group, opened an office in Dubai in 2018 in line with $20m expansion plan
Abu Dhabi-backed chauffeur service Blacklane to open first US offices
By Lubna Hamdan
Sun 11 Aug 2019 09:40 AM

German chauffeur and airport concierge service Blacklane, whose shareholders include Abu Dhabi-based Al Fahim Group and carmaker Daimler, is opening its first offices in the US this fall, its co-founder and CEO told Business Travel News.

Jens Wohltorf said the US is the Berlin-based company's largest market for cars, rides and revenue, with the office openings expected to boost the firm’s growth.

Blacklane, which opened an office in Dubai in 2018, will open an office in Los Angeles in September and one in New York in December.

In May this year, it announced a $10-$20 million expansion into 20 cities in the Middle East, including Cairo, which it is financing alongside shareholder Al Fahim Group and Daimler AG.

The expansion is in line with its plans for an initial public offering (IPO) over the next three years.

Half of Blacklane’s business is currently conducted in Europe, while about a third is done in the US and the rest in the Middle East and Asia.

Its flotation would follow that of larger ride-hailing competitors including US-based giant Lyft, which listed in April with a $24.3 billion valuation, and Uber, which listed in May with a $69.7 billion valuation.

Blacklane operates across 300 cities in 60 countries and competes with rivals Addison Lee in the UK and UberBLACK, the luxury arm of Uber, which is available in over 600 cities worldwide.

While Blacklane’s core driver service was profitable, the company was not, as Wohltorf said it is currently focusing on expanding in areas such as airport express services.

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