Zoomcar, a Bengaluru-based self-drive car rental company raises $24 million (about Rs 160 crore) funding led by Ford Smart Mobility, a subsidiary of Ford Motor Company. Existing investors Sequoia Capital, Nokia Growth Partners (NGP) and Empire Angels also participated in the round.
Zoomcar, which competes with Carzonrent and JustRide, lets users rent cars by the hour or day. It hopes to reach a fleet size of 25,000 in 25 cities by 2018. “We are at an inflection point. Currently, we have 2,000 cars with a presence in 7 cities. We are planning to launch in Kolkata soon and go to more tier-2 cities and penetrate deeper in existing cities,” said Greg Moran, who moved from New York to Bengaluru in 2013 to start Zoomcar.
This is Ford’s first such investment in India. It has been Zoomcar’s largest supplier of vehicles and both companies have worked closely on a number of mobility experiments.
To cut costs, Zoomcar pivoted from an inventory-led model to a marketplace model this year and is relying heavily on its new associate programme, which allows individuals to attach their cars to Zoomcar’s inventory and earn revenues through it. This model would account for over 75% of Zoomcar overall vehicle inventory by early 2017.
The founder wants to keep the company lean and stay clear of over-hiring. The company had a team of 160 people and will not expand much.