We visited the company Blacklane, a global professional driver service. Here is the interview – and have a look at the team and their cool & stylish HQ office in Berlin.
Tell us something about your Company:
Blacklane, founded in 2011, is the global professional driver service, covering the first and last miles of your journey. We provide peace of mind for passengers and drivers in more than 50 countries, 250 cities and 500 airports around the world.
We guarantee high-quality rides at fair, fixed and all-inclusive rates. All drivers are commercially licensed and insured.
Our state-of-the-art systems and a multi-lingual 24/7 Customer Service team coordinates tens of thousands of quality cars in real time. You can schedule rides on our website or iOS or Android apps.
What is your core business?
Our core business is professional driver services. This includes transfers and hourly bookings in any of our 250 cities in 50 countries as well as our events service.
Blacklane partners with limousine service providers around the globe and matches demand and supply on an international scale. Bookings from global customers come in through our website and apps or distribution partners and are then offered to our partners. They have the liberty to accept the offered bookings when they fit with their schedule.
How did you get to your business idea and when was your company established?
The two founders, Jens Wohltorf and Frank Steuer, had been friends for years.
They first met at Berlin’s Technical University lab for Distributed Artificial Intelligence in 2002, and although their careers led them in different directions, they always had the idea to work together.
In 2009 Jens was a Principal at BCG in Chicago and traveling almost all the time. But while flights and hotels were pretty easy to organize and manage, the ground transportation piece was always painful: receipts, multiple currencies, fragmented car service companies and taxis around the world with wildly differing quality standards. This made him dislike Monday mornings and Friday evenings.
It was a combination of Jens’ observations and Frank’s technological expertise that led to the idea for Blacklane. Frank flew over to the US, they talked the idea through and decided that there would be a huge opportunity in unifying this inefficient industry. Blacklane was born in September 2011.
In which countries are you active?
Blacklane is currently available in more than 250 cities and 500 airports in 50 countries, which you can view here.
Are you planning to expand your venture in other countries? And if – where?
Blacklane recently expanded its footprint in the Asia Pacific Region by adding 64 new cities to our portfolio. We will continue to expand where our customers are traveling to best serve them.
Where do you see the company in 5 years?
Blacklanes aspires to take the stress out of travel. We want to close the missing link in the travel chain: the first and last miles of your trip. To achieve that, we will continue launching new cities, improving the online and physical experiences and partnering with the world’s best limousine service providers.
Are you investing in other ventures?
At the moment this is not something we are pursuing.
How many employees work at your company right now? Are you planning to expand?
We currently employ around 220 people and we are looking for more.
What is the average age of your team members ?
The average age at Blacklane is currently 32 years.
What kind of attitude should new employees have to have in order to work at your company?
“It is important to us that a person is a good cultural fit for our company.”
Working at Blacklane means taking on responsibility for your own tasks, thinking and acting across departments, and supporting your co-workers. The means going the extra mile and being creative.
Why is it fun to work at your company? Do you offer any employee benefits?
Blacklane is a special place to work: It offers the agile, informal aspects of a startup while at the same time the professionalized processes and workflows of larger companies. We are currently 220 people in two offices, and we have more than 40 nationalities in our workforce. The global background and variety of degrees of seniority make our team colourful and diverse.
Do you offer new employees a relocation service or help to relocate?
Yes, we do offer relocation support. We often hire people from outside Germany and quite a few from outside the European Union. This means helping out with visa proceedings and finding a place to live, if needed. We also offer language classes to help non-Germans integrate better and empowering them for life in Germany.
How big is your Office/Production Site?
We have a spacious and beautiful former factory building in Berlin-Schöneberg, which was built in 1902. The building has 5 floors, partly in use by Blacklane and partly by two other companies. In addition, we opened an office in Singapore earlier this year.
Did you get help from an interior designer by designing the office? And if who did you work together with?
No, Blacklane is extremely lucky to have a wonderful in-house office management team in place that went above and beyond to not only design such an appealing and functional office space but also working hard to maintaining its beauty and the historic character of the building.
Thank you Blacklane Team for this interview & the photoshooting!
Location: Berlin, Germany Website: Blacklane
Photos: copyright by the photographer Andreas Lukoschek