Australian venture accelerator Future Capital Development Fund has acquired a minority stake in tech start-up DriveMyCarRentals.com.au, raising the possibility of taking the company global.
Founded by Daniel Noble in 2008, DMCR is the latest start-up to become part of entrepreneur Domenic Carosa’s development fund. The company is an online service that promotes and facilitates car rentals. The company has developed a platform that connects drivers with car owners willing to rent their car.
DMCR claims that by renting privately, car owners can offset some or all of the fixed costs of car ownership.
“We had a family friend who commuted to work and she would rent her car to a neighbor in her building… She covered the cost of her car,” Noble says.
“I did a bit of research and discovered that Australia has 15 million cars and 12 million of those are actually private passenger vehicles, and the average commuter only drives their car eight hours a week.”
This set in motion the concept for DMCR, which was self-funded by Noble with $100,000. The Sydney-based business now has more than 20 employees and is expected to exceed more than $4 million in revenue by June 2012.
While the investment figure will not be disclosed, Noble says FCDF has acquired a minority stake in the business and will also sit on the company board.
“We welcome Future Capital as a cornerstone investor. We believe they have the right skills to help build further value in the business,” Nobile says.
With 40 car makes, ranging from Ferraris to Honda hatchbacks, the business now has 8,000 registered users.
Noble says while the business originally focused on the B2C market, it will now focus more of its energy on the burgeoning B2B market, generated by the demand for corporate fleet solutions.
“Our area of focus is also to improve innovations for mobile, such as check-in and check-out, remote car inspection apps and car location apps,” he says.
“DriveMyCarRental exists in two oceans – it’s a tech foundation business at the back-end but at the front-end it is embedded in existing sales channels, so our competitiveness is born from our technology strengths.”
FCDF executive chairman Carosa says DMCR is a disruptive business model and has first mover advantage in the Australian marketplace.
“Offering over 40 car makes across short- and long-term rentals periods, the company fills a gap in the market not currently serviced by the car rental or automotive leasing sector,” Carosa says.
According to Carosa, DMCR has a proven platform and a motivated team, and has therefore experienced strong revenue growth.
“We’ve been impressed by Daniel and the team he’s assembled. He’s built what we look for: a strong capable team committed to great technology, service and a business with strong global potential,” he says.
Carosa says the partnership will enable DMCR to look at international expansion. DMCR joins FCDF’s growing portfolio of investments, include imorial.com, eventarc.com, CheapHotels.com.au, OurWishingWell.com, SMS Central and My Guest List.