Blacklane buys airport services startup, connects the dots

Blacklane will add airport concierge services to its offering within the next few months after buying Solve, a startup which featured as part of Y Combinator‘s summer 2017 intake.

Its co-founder and CEO Jens Wohltorf said that the deal “is a natural extension of our personal service and high-quality rides as it connects the dots between a comfortable flight and a comfortable ride.”

He also told tnooz that Solve’s aggregation approach to the airport concierge services industry mirrored Blacklane’s entry into professional driver segment.

“Solve identified a fragmented market and developed a platform to bring together suppliers, similar to what we are doing. We can give airport concierge services an established brand and global scalability.”

Wohltorf added that offering Solve’s current services under the Blacklane brand “is the most likely outcome” and that Blacklane hopes to start selling airport concierge services this December.

The Solve offer is complementary to Blacklane’s driver services, bringing curbside and air-side passenger meet and greet, fast-track security, expedited customs and immigration, connecting flight assistance and lounge access.

Bundling the airport and driver product is on the agenda, Wohltorf said, but also thinks that there is a lot of potential in offering the airport services independently of the driver.

Earlier this year it launched what it claimed was an airline first by allowing Finnair to integrate a Blacklane driver booking into the PNR via Amadeus. Wohltorf said that “the direction in the long-run” is for the driver booking to become a PNR-compatible driver + airport concierge booking.

He also talked about the synergies that the tie-up makes available to its distribution partners, including travel management companies and some leisure agencies.

Wohltorf said that Blacklane is currently in “a high-growth period”, with its mature markets of North America and Europe performing well, with significant demand coming from Asia, China and the Middle East. Its current footprint extends to 50 countries, 250 cities and 500 airports around the world.

Related reading from tnooz:
Blacklane scores biggest investment round yet, north of $20 million (Aug16)

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