The German start-up behind Flixbus is hungry: After another round of financing, the company also wants to conquer the American market. Is Flix preparing to go public?
The long-distance bus operator Flixmobility is valued at more than three billion dollars after its seventh financing round. The Munich company has collected $ 650 million (a good 530 million euros) in equity and debt, said co-founder and co-boss Jochen Engert on Wednesday.
The rating is significantly higher than before the corona crisis, which temporarily brought the Flixbus and FlixTrain business to a standstill. “Now it’s time to go on the offensive again,” said co-founder Andre Schwämmlein.
Further takeovers are also possible in order to achieve market leadership in the USA, Great Britain and Portugal. Flix – as the company now calls itself – is predestined to consolidate the markets.
Market leader in several European countries
Two years ago, Flixmobility, founded in 2013, collected around half a billion euros in fresh money – which was the largest financing round of a German start-up up until then – and thus screwed the valuation to more than two billion euros (2.45 billion dollars).
At that time the investors Permira and TCV had joined, but General Atlantic remained the largest shareholder. Little has changed in terms of the investor base, said Engert. The existing investors have contributed further equity, the US financier Canyon Partners has entered with debt. According to insiders, Flix is considering going public in the coming year.
After releasing long-distance transport for buses in 2013, the company established itself as the market leader in Germany and several other European countries. In Sweden and Germany, Flix is now also on the rails.
No “money burned” in the corona crisis
During the pandemic, Flixmobility temporarily stopped a large part of the connections and thus kept the money together. The number of passengers was below the 62 million in 2019. “We only offered services where we were profitable,” said Schwämmlein. “We never burned a lot of money.”
In the USA, operations should now be the first to start up again. The country of the “Greyhound” intercity buses should be the largest market for Flixbus in the future, said USA boss Pierre Gourdain. They want to offer the most extensive network there by 2023.