Car rental start-up Zoomcar has raised $24 million in a Series B funding round led by Ford Smart Mobility Llc, a unit of Ford Motor Co., the firm said in a statement on Wednesday. Existing investors Sequoia Capital, Nokia Growth Partners and Empire Angels also participated in the round.
The company had raised $21 million, in two tranches between October 2014 and July 2015, from Sequoia Capital, Empire Angels, T.V. Mohandas Pai (chairman of Manipal Global Education) and Abhay Jain (adviser at Manipal Group), among others, thus taking its war chest to $45 million.
Zoomcar was founded in 2012 by chief executive Greg Moran and David Back. The latter quit the company in May last year and returned to the US, citing personal reasons.
The company 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.
According to Moran, 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.
Currently, the company has 2,000 vehicles—a mix of its own fleet and those sourced through the associate programme—in seven cities. The company operates in Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Chennai, Hyderabad and Chandigarh. It aims to increase its fleet to more than 25,000 vehicles across 25 cities by 2018.
Incidentally, Ford has been Zoomcar’s largest supplier of vehicles.
“Ford was our very first partner back in 2013 and this announcement just cements the fact that the two companies share many of the same core values and vision related to urban mobility. Customer experience will remain our highest priority as we scale Zoomcar Associate Program across India in the months ahead and our relationship with Ford will no doubt help us create a world-leading marketplace experience for both our customers and associates,” Moran said in a statement on Wednesday.
Modelled after US-based ZipCar, Zoomcar allows its users to book a car, make the payment, locate the vehicle and unlock it using just its smartphone app.
Moran said the company has a fair mix of 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.