Multi-million euro investment boosts Blacklane’s Japanese expansion

Berlin-based low cost professional car service Blacklane has received a several million euro investment to support expansion in Japan.

The unspecified “mid-seven-digit” funding comes from Japan-based Recruit Holdings.

Blacklane has also added the founder of PhoCusWright, Philip Wolf, to its board of directors.

The company’s global footprint now spans 50 countries and more than 150 cities, including over 100 added in the last 12 months. In addition to Tokyo, Blacklane’s reach in east Asia includes Bangkok, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Macau, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Singapore and Taipei.

The new strategic resource, the company’s first from Asia, augments investments from ALSTIN, b-to-v Partners, RI Digital Ventures, and car4you Holding, as well as the partner moovel (Daimler Mercedes-Benz).

Jens Wohltorf, company co-founder and chief executive said: “It’s a great pleasure to welcome Recruit to our team and to work together on projects in Japan and other Asian countries.

“Blacklane will profit from Recruit’s experience and existing services in the Asian travel sector enormously.”

Akihiko Okamoto, head of Recruit Institute of Technology, said: “Recruit acts as an online travel service provider for Asian travellers who are searching for simple, secure and global mobility solutions. We are impressed at both the quality of Blacklane’s service and its rapid expansion around the world.”

Wolf will help shape Blacklane’s strategic planning and global expansion on the company’s board of directors.

He founded travel, tourism and hospitality intelligence company PhoCusWright and was chief executive until the company was sold in 2011. Wolf is a board member of seven other companies including MakeMyTrip in India and eDreams Odigeo in Spain.

“At PhoCusWright, Philip used travel market research to transform the tourism industry into a new era,” said Wohltorf.

“His vision, expertise, unsurpassed global network and unique point of view are invaluable assets to help build Blacklane into the world’s largest provider of professional ground transportation at low cost.”

Wolf said: “I am a regular Blacklane customer, and am excited to join its board. Blacklane is the only global brand of professional, reliable drivers. The time has come to modernise this market, and I am convinced of Blacklane’s enormous potential.”

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