Zoomcar raises funds from Chinese VC firm Cyber Carrier

0
106

Bengaluru: Self-drive car rental start-up Zoomcar has raised an undisclosed amount from Chinese venture capital firm Cyber Carrier CL as an extension of its Series B round, the company said in a statement on Tuesday. The company had raised $24 million in August in a Series B funding round led by Ford Smart Mobility LLC, a unit of Ford motor Co.

“Customer experience and Internet of Things-enabled product innovation will remain our highest priorities as we scale Zoomcar Associate Programme in the months ahead and our relationship with Cyber Carrier CL will no doubt help us create a world leading marketplace experience for both our renters and associate owners,” co-founder and chief executive Greg Moran said in a statement.

Zoomcar was founded in 2012 by Moran and David Back, who quit the company in May last year and returned to the US, citing personal reasons. The company has so far raised at least $45 million from Sequoia Capital, Empire Angels, Nokia Growth partners, T.V. Mohandas Pai (chairman of Manipal Global Education) and Abhay Jain (adviser at Manipal Group), among others.

Cyber Carrier is a Hong Kong-based venture capital firm focused on India, launched by Peter Zou, founder of Chinese mobile advertisement platform YeahMobi. The fund has an initial target corpus of $45 million, VCCircle reported in May.

The firm has so far invested in about 10 companies, including financial technology start-ups Indialends and Krazybee.

According to Tracxn, a start-up tracker, at least 10 such car rental companies have emerged and become big between 2000 and 2014 in the US and China. Companies such as Turo, Silvercar and Zipcar led the brigade in the US. The likes of eHi Car Services, Zuche, Reocar and Atzuche, among others, dominated the Chinese market, while iCarsclub in Singapore and Drivy in France also scaled up significantly.

According to Tracxn, the 10 biggest car rental start-ups across the globe have together mopped up at least $1.2 billion in institutional funding from investors such as Sequoia Capital, Canaan Partners, Warburg Pincus, Fidelity Growth Partners and Greylock Partners.

“Our investment team is quite familiar with similar models in China and the US. Based on the company’s data and financial model, we believe Zoomcar will accelerate on the path of rapid growth and expansion,” Jessica Wong, managing partner at Cyber Carrier, said in a statement.

Zoomcar initially owned the entire fleet of cars available on its platform. However, in April, the company launched the Zoomcar Associate Program, essentially allowing private car owners to make their vehicles available on Zoomcar.

Moran said in an interview in August that the company will look at scaling up the programme to account for about three-fourths of the company’s fleet in the next 12 months.

Zoomcar claims to have more than 2,500 cars on its platform, a mix of its own fleet and those sourced through the associate programme—in 14 cities, including Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Chennai and Chandigarh.

Zoomcar offers both inter-city and intra-city trips. The intra-city ride-hailing segment is largely dominated by Ola (ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd) and Uber Inc. Ola recently launched hourly booking packages, a product which competes with Zoomcar.