Bangalore-based self drive car rental start up Zoomcar has raised Rs $25 million in Series C funding from Ford Motor, Sequoia Capital and Reliance Venture Asset Management with the former leading with $15 million. The other $10 million is split between Sequoia and Reliance according to reports.
For Zoomcar this doubles their finances as they have earlier raised over $21 million in previous rounds. Till last year they had a market share of around 60% and claim to have the largest fleet of cars (1,500). Other recent claims include over 2,100 rides a day and 860,000 users.
Having raised funds from 16 investors in five rounds since 2013, it is looking to be profitable in several of its key markets. Last month, the company changed its track to marketplace model, again aiming at profitability by 2017. This helps the company add more cars leased by Zoomcar users and other individuals on a revenue-sharing basis. They are also on an aggressive expansion drive in tier-1 cities and looking to tap into tier-2 and tier-3 cities, although the founders believe that most of the revenue comes from the former.
This is said to be US automobile company Ford’s first major investment on an Indian start-up as Ford Smart Mobility LLC. It is Ford’s venture capital arm for new technologies, connected to the company’s internal research arm Ford Mobility. It was set up this March at the company’s corporate headquarters in Dearborn and Michigan. Zoomcar is the group’s third investment till now, following a seed round in 3D mapping startup Civil Maps and co-leading a Series C investment in unicorn company Pivotal Software. In fact, last year, Ford also launched a mobility experiment in partnership with Zoomcar which was tailored to learn more about the mobility needs of close-knit communities of people. These investments indicate company’s focus on autonomous rides, data and connected cars.
There are other investments in India by Ford Motor which indicates that the country is very much part of its plans. According to reports, the automobile company is said to be investing Rs 1,300 crore to set up a new Global Technology and Business Centre in Chennai. The centre is looking at designing cars in the future as the new facility will be integrated with the global engineering centre. Last year it expanded its manufacturing presence by setting up an engine manufacturing plant in Gujarat with an investment of $1 billion.