FlixMobility, a German-born company, raised over €500 million ($561 million), which is the largest round of funding for a German tech company to date.
The funding is said to be from Silver Lake and General Atlantic.
Chief Executive and founder, Jochen Engert, declined to indicate the exact numbers gained. However, Reuters revealed that Engert would spend the money to launch operations to other parts of the world and to build a car-pooling service.
A report from TechCrunch, however, revealed that FlixMobility earned more. Engert announced that the round has been ”extended substantially” with contributions from a new set of investors: Baillie Gifford, Luxor Capital Group, and Odyssey 44, with additional investment provided through funds managed by BlackRock. Other investors also included TCV, Permira, and HV Holtzbrinck Ventures.
According to Engert, the funding would come near with the valuation as the first close of the Series F (which was just over $2 billion), and that the extra funding was “not double” the earlier amount, “but substantial.”
It values FlixMobility at more than 2 billion euros, ranking the company as a “unicorn” worth more than $1 billion.
FlixMobility’s funding is substantial enough that “[puts the company] into a position where all the liberty and freedom to execute [FlixMobility’s] strategy and vision to build a global mobility platform,” Engert said in an interview.
Mainly, FlixMobility had its early beginning as a startup called FlixBus in 2013, which was a result when Germany deregulated busses; allowing FlixBus to operate freely within the country.
The goal then for FlixBus was to provide a “transportation marketplace for customers looking for affordable mobility.”
Furthermore, FlixMobility‘s three young entrepreneurs from Munich envisioned that through their service, they could provide a more sustainable means of travel, which at the same time would be comfortable and affordable.
Primarily, they acted as a ride-share platform, where people can book bus rides across cities in Germany, and eventually all across Europe.
This cheap and comfortable mode of intercity transportation allowed FlixBus to become widely popular across the region.
In 2018, FlixBus became FlixMobility, when it started to work with European train operators that introduced FlixTrain.
By then, some 45 million people used FlixBus and FlixTrain — along 350,000 daily connections — to more than 2,000 destinations, the company says.
Its network currently includes 29 countries and 300 independent bus and train partners, and it attributes around 10,000 jobs in the industry to its business.
Notably, all the busses and trains used by FlixMobility are not technically theirs. Instead, they work alongside different companies and industries that share the same vision of affordable and sustainable travel for all.
A proportion of the provided vehicles, in turn, get rebranded with Flix’s distinctive green logo.
It has a lot to do with FlixMobility backing out from the idea to go Public, as advised by its financial advisers since “it’s the time when it’s evident that there is no path to profitability.”
But FlixMobility is already profitable in around half of the markets where it operates, Engert says, making it possible to finance growth in new markets and break-even overall.
Comparatively, its competitors such as Uber and Lyft have decided to go Public this year, only to see them drop in the stock market.
FlixMobility, on the other hand, decided to work with private companies to keep its business to push forward, and it’s paying off.
Currently, the ride-share company works with local transport partners in 30 European countries and launched long-distance bus services in the United States last year.
In return for companies’ work with FlixMobility, they could provide operators of those vehicles a stable source of income instead of keeping busses stagnant in garages.
The logistics platform, on the other hand, can create more efficient long-distance routes — its shortest connection is 50km, most are beyond 100km, and the “sweet spot” Engert said, is 200km.
With the new funding, FlixMobility aims to expand to new markets in South America and Asia and further into the U.S.
It is also looking to directly compete with Uber and Lyft, per se, by introducing its version of a car-pool service by taking advantage of the idea that passengers are using its FlixBusses to get to FlixTrains.
In essence, FlixCar—which the service will be called—will do nothing more, but be a more convenient solution as it provides point-to-point service.
“We see a lot of opportunity in creating an even more granular network, into even more places and destinations, not only within the large cities but also into smaller and medium-sized cities,” said Engert.
“We would see this more as an add-on product to our core. And it’s certainly very attractive from the customer acquisition side.” FlixCar aims to launch in one or two European countries, with details to be finalized this year.
But FlixMobility’s goal seems to take over the whole transportation industry as it also aims to launch a new group-focused service, FlixBus Charter too. It’s also been working on a smaller “pilot” project, Flix2Fly, which will also involve giving passengers a more affordable means to fly.