Zoomcar Raises $8M Led by Sequoia

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"Zipcar of India" Raises Money to Fuel Rapid Growth

'I am proud to have been an angel investor behind Zoom... Zoom has the potential to help consumers, to help the environment and to empower Indian businesses.' -Lawrence H. Summers

Zoomcar reported today that it is raising money from Sequoia Capital. The high-tech Indian car rental company started in Bangalore in February 2013, with 7 vehicles at 1 location. It now has over 250 cars at about 40 locations across Bangalore and Pune, with plans to expand to other cities in India.

"Zoomcar has broken many conventions,” stated Shailendra Singh, Managing Director of Sequoia India. “David and Greg are incredibly driven and determined entrepreneurs who moved to India from the USA to usher in a new era of self-drive. They have built technology to make an incredibly user-friendly experience, with all bookings happening through the web or mobile app. With those characteristics, they are seeing incredible demand and have had to turn away customers 89 weekends in a row. We think they have a shot at changing the rules on car ownership in India. We are delighted to back them and support them in their endeavor to disrupt the traditional car rental market through a hyper-local car sharing model."

Zoomcar is unusual in the Indian car-rental space because it allows customers to drive themselves. Over 95% of the industry is chauffeur-driven, and what "self-drive" options exist are largely in the unlicensed and unregulated informal economy.

"The opportunity here is astronomical," explains Zoomcar Co-Founder and President David Back. "Around the world, our business model thrives in ultra-dense cities with low rates of car ownership. By 2030, India will have 68 cities with populations over 1 million, while all of Europe only has 35 such cities."

Sequoia is being joined in this investment round by former Infosys CFO Mohandas Pai, Abhay Jain of the Manipal Group, and other strategic individuals. Many prior investors are also increasing their stake, including Empire Angels, FundersClub, Basset Investment Group, and funds advised by Triangle Growth Partners. Zoomcar had previously raised $3M.

Zoomcar Co-Founder and CEO Greg Moran said "We're thrilled to have Sequoia as the lead investor for this current round. Sequoia makes the ideal partner for Zoomcar as we continue to develop the self-drive market in India."

Investment has flowed into the Indian personal transportation sector, with Uber devoting considerable resources to the country; local e-hailing champion Ola Cabs fighting back with $277M from Softbank, Tiger Global, Sequoia, Steadview, and Matrix; and TaxiForSure raising money from Accel and Bessemer. Uber launched in Bangalore with a co-marketing partnership alongside Zoomcar, #RideSmartBLR. The campaign encouraged people to enjoy the economic, environmental, and health benefits of not owning a car, and instead taking a rental car or a taxi as needed.

Other developing countries are also seeing a transition away from chauffeur-driven car rental and towards self-drive. China’s largest pure-play car rental company, China Auto, went public in September, and quickly rose to a market value of over $3.5B.

Lawrence H. Summers, Former U.S. Treasury Secretary and Former President of Harvard University opined, "I am proud to have been an angel investor behind Zoom. In a developing, dense country like India, there is even more benefit from automobile sharing. Zoom has the potential to help consumers, to help the environment and to empower Indian businesses."

Another early investor in Zoomcar is Professor Ed George, the Chair of the Statistics Department at Wharton. He enthused "Zoom is perfectly poised to open self-drive access to a huge new market. Led by two brilliant visionaries, its long term upside potential is simply staggering."

About Zoomcar
The first company in India to focus on self-drive car rental, Zoomcar is changing the way people get around Indian cities. Zoomcar offers neighbourhood-based vehicle locations, with a high-tech process reducing friction for members at every step: from vehicles search and booking, to pick-up and drop-off, to payments and refunds. Zoomcar operates in Bangalore and Pune, with plans to expand to other cities in India.

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About Sequoia Capital
Sequoia Capital helps founders turn imaginative ideas into enduring companies. As the “Entrepreneurs Behind the Entrepreneurs,” the Sequoia team has worked closely with legendary founders such as Steve Jobs of Apple, Larry Ellison of Oracle, Len Bosack and Sandy Lerner of Cisco, David Filo and Jerry Yang of Yahoo!, Max Levchin, Elon Musk and Peter Thiel of PayPal, Sergey Brin and Larry Page of Google, Steve Chen and Chad Hurley of YouTube, and Reid Hoffman and Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn. Sequoia is now helping the next generation of innovators build the lasting companies of tomorrow.

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