Home / Companies / Start-ups /  Zoomcar raises $30 million from Sony fund, others in fresh round

Self-drive car rental platform Zoomcar has raised $30 million in its ongoing Series D round led by Sony Innovation Fund, and other existing investors, it said on Monday. The Bengaluru-based mobility startup plans to raise another $70 million in the ongoing round.

The Sony Innovation Fund was set up by Japanese technology giant Sony in June 2019 in partnership with Daiwa Capital Holdings to invest in growth-stage technology companies.

Zoomcar plans to deploy the capital for growth, to improve its technology and data science infrastructure, besides upgrading its IoT capability that is currently being used for its subscription service. The startup has been in the market to raise $500 million in the Series D round since April 2019, but cut short the round to $200 million, according to a company statement. Zoomcar was valued at around $170 million when it closed its Series C round in February 2018.

The mobility startup is backed by Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd (M&M), Ford Smart Mobility, Sequoia Capital, and debt investors such as InnoVen Capital and Trifecta Capital. To date, Zoomcar has raised around $130 million, including the current round, from strategic investors.

The seven-year-old startup was founded by American duo Greg Moran and David Back. Back, however, left the firm citing personal reasons in early 2015.

Zoomcar allows users to book vehicles and pay online using its mobile app and website. It has more than 10,000 four-wheelers in its fleet, including Nissan, Toyota, Volkswagen and Renault cars.

In April 2016, it had launched an associate programme, which lets users lease out their own cars on the platform under a revenue-sharing model. It also has a subscription product, which allows users to sub-lease four-wheelers for 3-, 6-, 9- and 12-month periods. Till date, the platform has issued around 15,000 subscriptions.

Zoomcar said in its statement that it was targeting to add around 100,000 vehicles over the next 18-24 months to its fleet as urban mobility has witnessed a sharp rise among commuters in metro cities.

In the last one year alone, several mobility startups, such as Bounce, Vogo, Yulu and Drivezy, have been experimenting with easing last-mile commuting problems through two-wheeler rental services.

Investors and founders in the mobility space have been betting on a pay-per-use model for two-wheelers, which allows users to pick-and-drop vehicles within city limits. Users locate nearest vehicles using a mobile app and pay for the distance travelled.

A large chunk of the funding in shared mobility platforms in 2018 and 2019 were focused on Bengaluru-based two-wheeler rental startups—Bounce, Vogo and Yulu. The firms together secured $388 million, according to a Mint analysis.

Out of this, Accel and B Capital-backed Bounce leads the pack, mopping up $250 million in the last two years.

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