Community car-sharing app Karshare has announced a £3 million pre-series A round.
Since launching earlier this year, the company has rolled out to four cities in the UK – Bristol, Manchester, Coventry and London.
The investment will be used to support expansion to new cities and to hire talent for its rapidly growing team.
In addition to existing strategic investors Fullbrook Thorpe, Adjuvo Syndicate and other angel investors, it welcomed a significant investment by Saracens rugby owner Nigel Wray.
Wray said: “We are delighted to be backing Andy Hibbert and his team at Karshare. Perhaps particularly in today’s age this is logically and environmentally the way things are going.
“Airbnb started somewhere – and who thought that would be what it is today.”
Karshare is the first fully on-demand, peer-to-peer car sharing platform in Europe. It enables people to rent their car to others within their community. Unlike other platforms, Karshare’s keyless technology means all cars are instantly available.
Renters can book immediately via the app and access the vehicle straight away, with no need to arrange a time and date to collect keys from the owner. The cars are also fully insured through the service and include breakdown cover.
In just six months, Karshare has reported a 45 percent increase in revenue growth month-on-month and a 70 percent growth in members month-on-month.
Since launch, the business has established a 32-strong team. The new funds will be used to expand existing cities, launch new locations including Birmingham, Leeds and Edinburgh, and further grow the team to include more community managers, marketing expertise and fleet technicians.
Karshare also plans to grow its engineering team.
Founder Andy Hibbert said: “The opportunity to share cars is vast. There are 33 million privately owned cars and 1.5 million registered vans in the UK. On average, these vehicles sit idle 96 percent of the time.
“For the many hours they are sat outside people’s homes on streets and driveways, they could be hired out to vetted drivers in the local area, put to good use and generate income for the owners.
“We’re in the perfect position to facilitate this – quickly, easily ,affordably and with great assurances for car owners and renters alike. The past 18 months has seen lives change dramatically, whether impacted financially, socially or career-wise; a vast amount of people don’t plan to return to exactly how their lives were before. And with that comes a question around car ownership and the associated costs.
“Our vision for the future is one where there are far less vehicles on our roads, and the vehicles we do have are being shared to give multiple users access for the trips they need. Essentially moving away from ownership toward usership.
“The sustainability benefits are huge. For each car shared, up to 24 can be taken off the road. Car sharing will play a key role in the move to net zero which will require 50 percent less cars to be on UK roads and as we transition more to EVs these benefits will continue to grow.”
Andrew Borkowski, CEO at Fullbrook Thorpe, said: “We have been supporting Andy and the Karshare team since May 2019 and share their passion about reinventing the car hire industry. It’s a sector which is ripe for innovation, sustainability initiatives and new technology – all of which are vital aspects of the peer-to-peer model.
“This latest round of funding will enable Karshare to grow its team, further develop the service and expand its footprint across the UK.”