Insurer Suncorp has taken a stake in an Australian-founded car-sharing platform, the second high-profile company to do so in recent months, amid a $10 million fundraising round.
Car Next Door is a peer-to-peer platform that allows vehicle owners to rent out their car when it is not in use.
It was founded in 2013 in Sydney, and now claims to have 160,000 members and 3,500 vehicles being shared. Around 20 per cent of its user base are businesses. The platform now covers Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Perth, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
My Business can confirm that Suncorp has contributed $1.5 million, making it the second household name company to the Australian start-up, after South Korean carmarker Hyundai announced a $6.2 million investment in Car Next Door in September this year, adding to a previous $2 million investment.
Hyundai said at the time that such a partnership would allow to “expand the use of a car for a Hyundai car owner”, as it seeks new opportunities to share in the life cycle of vehicles as new car sales fall.
“We know the traditional way Australians own and use cars is evolving, and this partnership will allow us to learn and better service our customers’ needs,” said Suncorp Insurance CEO Gary Dransfield.
“As Australia’s largest motor and CTP insurer, we can support Car Next Door’s members with insurance, and we can also introduce our customers to a new way to safely and easily rent out their cars in their own neighbourhoods.”
In a UBS investor conference presentation, a copy of which was provided to the ASX on Monday, Suncorp said the investment would deliver longer-term insights for the insurance giant.
“Over time, this investment will help drive new mobility solutions to meet more customer care needs and gain valuable learnings on the car-sharing economy,” it said.
Car Next Door co-founder and CEO Will Davies (pictured) said the investment was a pleasing one, given the significant role insurance plays in vehicle operations.
“Suncorp’s expertise and networks will be invaluable when those cars need to be repaired,” he said.
“We also look forward to welcoming more of Suncorp’s millions of car-owning customers to our neighbourly car-sharing community so that they can earn money from their car when they’re not using it.”
Car Next Door is close to achieving its goal of raising $10 million, with Mr Davies telling My Business that the remaining $1 million is being raised through Equitise, which is scheduled to close on Friday, 6 November.
“We’re focusing on growth through expansion to new places, growing our team of local developers to build out the functionality of the platform, and marketing,” he said.
Fellow Aussie start-up looks to take guesswork out of rideshare tax
The investments into Car Next Door come at the same time that a new start-up, Rideshare Tax, was launched in a bid to assist rideshare drivers understand their tax liabilities.
Rideshare Tax was founded by qualified Australian accountants Selda Kaplan and Michael Kambouridis.
The app is free to use but derives its revenue from lodging BAS reports to the ATO. It reportedly has more than 1,300 sign-ups to date and is aiming to launch an equity crowdfunding campaign early in the new year.
“The sharing economy is booming, but drivers are becoming overwhelmed with the bookkeeping and tax requirements. Rideshare Tax is a one-stop shop for rideshare drivers,” Mr Kambouridis said.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.