DriveMyCarRentals starts $50m roadshow

Car-sharing website DriveMyCarRentals expects to raise $50 million by Christmas as it gears up for a global expansion of its "virtual fleet" leasing model.
Written by Mahesh Sharma, Correspondent

Car-sharing website DriveMyCarRentals expects to raise $50 million by Christmas as it gears up for a global expansion of its "virtual fleet" leasing model.

The peer-to-peer marketplace allows private individuals and corporates to lease their unused automotive assets over short-term periods. In Australia, it already lists 5500 cars from 40 brands, and has over 8000 members.

The company is eyeing an expansion into the UK, France, Germany and the Netherlands early next year, according to founder Daniel Noble, and is looking to raise up to $50 million from global venture capital firms in a series-A funding round.

Noble was confident of raising the $50 million, considering the performance of competitors such as RelayRides, which has raised $13 million in series-A funding.

A key industry metric is the number of rental days per month. He claimed that DMCR generated 11,500 rental days in September, which is 10 times the largest competitor in Europe, and 100 times larger than other competitors.

"When you look at comparable investments, RelayRides ... have 100 cars, and are yet to do 100 rental days a month. Several smaller players less than six months old have €7 million to €10 million valuations, and have raised €1 million each."

DMCR forecasts $8 million consolidated revenue for the financial year 2012, which is expected to grow to $27 million in the following year.

Last week, a delegation embarked on a global road show, led by Noble and key investors, including Sydney Angels chairman Mathias Kopp. They have already been engaged by ten global VC firms with a European presence, including Accel Venture Partners, which has invested over $100 million in Australian companies in the past year.

It recently whittled these down to five serious contenders in a bid to close a deal before Christmas.

The previous funding round of $2.4 million was closed in April, and Noble said that it has just completed another minority equity release which values the business at three times the previous valuation.

Noble said the key difference is that DMCR is using a peer-to-peer (P2P) supply chain to service a large existing market (car leasing), while other start-ups are focusing on the nascent market of car sharing.

"All the players internationally are just focusing on P2P car sharing, and, as a result, you require a lot of scale investment and consumer education, and it's going to take time.

"We're able to apply our innovation into existing markets that are not greenfield. They're current markets, that are mature and have very little room for competition, but we're able to come in and be extremely disruptive via our technology.

"We believe we'll be the future of P2P car-sharing market, and, while that new horizon is being built, we're using P2P as a supply chain innovation, and going after existing markets, because we can be more competitive than traditional providers."

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