ZoomCar gets $24-mn fresh funding from Ford Motor subsidiary

Bengaluru-based self-drive car rental company ZoomCar has received fresh funding of $24 million (about Rs160 crore) in a round 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.

The company also announced plans to expand from a 2,000-car company to a fleet of 25,000 cars.

Ford has been ZoomCar's largest supplier of vehicles and both companies have worked closely on a number of mobility experiments. "We first got in touch with Ford (for the latest funding) as they were our OEM (original equipment manufacturer) partners since 2013, and they have known us for longer than the other investors," ZoomCar CEO Greg Moran, said.

ZoomCar had raised $11 million from Sequoia and Nokia last year.

''We're thrilled to welcome the Ford team on board for this next phase of growth in the Indian self-drive space,'' said Moran. ''Customer experience will remain our highest priority as we scale and our relationship with Ford will no doubt help us create a world leading marketplace experience for both our customers and associates,'' he added.

The new funding, a Series B round, will help boost the company's tech platform that allows people to rent cars, and also purchase and enlist their own cars on the platform to share the profit on a monthly basis, a new model the company launched under its "ZoomCar Associate Programme" earlier this year. Under the programme, its associates can initially earn 20 per cent to 30 per cent of the revenues and, over time, ZoomCar expects associates to earn up to 80 per cent of the revenues from the rentals, he said.

ZoomcCar is banking on a partnership with Ford that will help push its new model, said Moran. Ford has been ZoomCar's largest supplier of vehicles such as Ford Figo and Ecosport. Under the new model people listing their own cars won't be limited to just Ford cars, said Moran.

''As Ford expands its business to be both an auto and mobility company, we are pursuing a long-term vision to develop services and solutions that make it easier for consumers to move through cities using multiple modes of transportation,'' says John Larsen, mobility director, Ford Asia Pacific.

ZoomCar, which currently operates in seven Indian cities, allows users to rent a car to drive themselves, and carry out all the paperwork online, unlike other companies in the category that we've come across.

It's easy to book a car, and you can even unlock the door by sending an SMS when you go to collect the car. Last year, it also added doorstep deliveries, so customers who are unable to go to collect the cars.