We met with Jens Wohltorf @, CEO of Blacklane, while he was over at the PhocuswrightEurope future travel tech event in Dublin. He first founded the company in 2011, with an official launch in 2012. It has now expanded it’s U.S. presence from 41 to 71 cities and doubled it’s presence in Canada.
Blacklane now provides professional drivers in more than 180 cities in 50 countries around the world, with service at more than 300 airports.
“We are creating a single market of local professional drivers, and this is our most rapid expansion yet,” said Jens Wohltorf, co-founder and CEO of Blacklane. “Business and leisure travelers desire a consistently reliable and safe experience wherever they go. These new cities support our growing demand and our growing demand and our global travel partners’ desires to reserve rides for their customers across North America.”
— Blacklane (@Blacklane) April 16, 2015
Wohltorf has a PhD from MIT as an industrial engineer. Having traveled a lot he felt that there had to be a better, more seamless way to arrange all the transport links from leaving his home to arriving at his intended destination. He first began working on the idea to improve on what was on offer in 2009.
— Blacklane (@Blacklane) April 29, 2015
Over the next couple of years he developed and refined these ideas to create the innovative service that Blacklane now offers. It is now described in the following terms.
Blacklane conveniently connects passengers with the spare capacities of licensed, regulated and insured professional drivers. Corporate and individual customers can book and schedule rides in over 50 countries around the world. Blacklane guarantees low and all-inclusive fixed rates at the time of the booking with a unique pricing and dispatching algorithm. The company provides a consistently high global standard by combining multi-lingual 24/7 customer care with real-time service control for tens of thousands of quality cars.
— Blacklane (@Blacklane) March 20, 2015
Blacklane are growing rapidly and will be a company to watch. We spoke to Jens while he was in Dublin.
What’s your take on the Irish tech scene?
It is doing well, in the top 5 in Europe, London, Berlin and Dublin for sure. It seems like a lively place, lots of the big companies here, which creates a good ecoscene for startups too.
How do you differentiate yourselves from Uber?
Quality. We don’t even consider ourselves to be competing with them. What we offer is a much higher quality service. Our quality is better, when you book, the price is fixed, you know what you will pay, it’s a different service.
How was this year?
Daimler invested in our company, this was a great success and shows that other major companies understand the proposition we are offering.
What are your plans for the future?
2016 to 2020, we want to be a platform for logistics. It’s too early for us to do this yet, but we are looking to expand the range of what we offer.We’re also looking at smart cars and how we can interact with that space too. We like what Tesla have done, but we think there’s scope for other vehicles in that sector too. For now we are expanding the range of cities we are in, after that, many other exciting things too.
Thanks again for visiting us at ITB-Berlin! Let us know how you liked the Mercedes V-Class vans for meeting rooms. pic.twitter.com/QGWY0diMMU
— Blacklane (@Blacklane) March 13, 2015