Australian start-up Flexicar has been sold to car rental giant Hertz Global Holdings for an undisclosed sum, with founder Monique Conheady to remain as director of Australian car sharing operations.
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Both companies signed an agreement yesterday, with the deal expected to close on 1 December.
Flexicar was founded in 2005 to offer Australians an affordable alternative to car ownership.
The Melbourne-based company operates 90 vehicles and caters for around 2,500 members in Melbourne and Sydney.
Flexicar will be integrated into Hertz’s car-sharing brand, Connect by Hertz, which has more than 700 vehicles and 20,000 members.
Conheady says the sale is intended to grow the business and achieve the Flexicar vision of transforming car share into a mainstream transport option.
“It’s not a ‘grow and get out’ mentality – it’s a ‘grow, demonstrate and supercharge it’ approach,” Conheady says.
“As a small start-up in a capital-intensive business, we were finding that the ability to grow meant we needed to take the next step.”
“Certainly, getting on board with a player that is already in the space globally, that has aspirations for a global network and global growth, was ideal for us. It was a perfect match.”
Robert Stuart, Hertz global sales senior president, says the Australian car sharing market closely mirrors the markets in which Connect serves, including residential, college campuses, and the business community.
“With a growing membership base and strong car utilisation rate, Flexicar provides Connect with immediate access to these key markets,” he says.
Hertz has assured Flexicar members will benefit from the acquisition with new in-car technology as well as increased access to cars and locations.
Conheady says all Flexicar staff have been offered jobs with Hertz and she expects everyone to stay on.
“All of our staff are going to be needed to integrate the Flexicar system into the Hertz system and show Hertz how this different model works,” she says.