UberPOP wasn’t the only victim of the recent taxi protests in France. Other ride-sharing companies Djump and Heetch were affected, as well. While it’s still unclear what’s going to happen with Heetch, Djump will be joining French transportation company Chauffeur-Privé.
As a reminder, in June, taxi drivers violently protested against UberPOP, the confusingly named equivalent of UberX in France, with some of them breaking cars and attacking Uber drivers. Following this turmoil, the government started tracking down UberPOP drivers more aggressively, as the service has been illegal for a while now.
Uber had no choice but to suspend its UberPOP offering. Djump followed course and shut down its service in Paris, Lyon and Brussels. Like with UberPOP, anybody could become a Djump driver. You didn’t need any specific professional driver’s license. Many taxi drivers saw it as unfair competition.
In addition to closing shop, Djump started talking with other French startups about a potential acqui-hire. And the team finally agreed to join Chauffeur-Privé . Djump had around 15 employees and will now work with Chauffeur-Privé’s existing team of 50.
“They have been talking with BlaBlaCar and other companies,” Chauffeur-Privé co-founder and CEO Yan Hascoet told me. “I think these guys are very good and are a very good fit for us, and we want to continue the adventure together.”
Chauffeur-Privé will try to make former Djump users switch to its own app and service. When it comes to former Djump drivers, it won’t be possible to make them work for Chauffeur-Privé as the French company focuses on professional limo-style drivers only. “For now, it is out of the question to get Djump drivers back to work — this is not on the agenda,” Hascoet said.
So it looks like Chauffeur-Privé won’t play with fire and will focus on its existing activity instead — only professional drivers with a professional license and 250 hours of training can become Chauffeur-Privé drivers. Some former Djump drivers would like to become professional drivers, but the government has been issuing very few of these licenses over the past six months.
Finally, acquiring Djump’s team means that Chauffeur-Privé could expand to new cities more easily. So far, Chauffeur-Privé is only available in Paris, Nice and Cannes. Uber is now available in Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux, Lille, Nantes and Nice. Its French competitors have a bit of catch up to do.