Luxembourg-based sustainable car rental company, UFODrive, announced on Tuesday that it has raised $19M (approx €16.68M) in its Series A round of funding. The investment was co-led by Hertz and Certares, in partnership with Knighthead Capital, and with participation from existing investors.
As per the deal, Hertz Senior VP of Strategy, Jayesh Patel, and Venture Lead at Certares, Chantal Noble Haldorsen, will join the UFODrive board.
Mark Fields, interim CEO of Hertz, says, “Our partnership with UFODrive is yet another major step in Hertz becoming an essential component of the modern mobility ecosystem. Together, we will pilot ways to make renting an EV even easier using UFODrive’s digital platforms for both the rental experience and fleet management. For customers, this partnership will help us create the future rental car experience that is all-digital and EV-centric.”
UFODrive claims that the funds will help it to accelerate its product development and expand globally, with a focus on the US market. The company has experienced sustained growth throughout the pandemic, opening new locations as well as adding home delivery and subscription to its existing rental operation.
“Born from a vision to deliver what we call ‘Radically Better Car Rental’, this investment is a major validation of that dream,” says Aidan McClean, CEO of UFODrive. “We are proud that we are helping to accelerate the transition to zero-emissions mobility, and our investors see the opportunity ahead. We pioneered and are now the premier operating system for electric fleets and already service a growing list of high-profile mobility companies.”
All-digital, all-electric car rental company
Founded in 2018 by Aidan McClean and Renaud Marquet, UFODrive claims to be pioneering the electric car revolution with its own all-electric car rental service powered by its end-to-end e-mobility platform. It is the first all-digital, all-electric car rental service controlled from an app.
UFODrive says its e-mobility SaaS platform makes transitioning to electric easy for both customers and fleet providers – delivering lean operations, lower energy costs, better charging, and optimal fleet utilisation using AI tools. The company’s technology also delivers a two-minute ‘arrive and drive’ entirely digital EV customer experience.
It offers no keys, no paperwork, no queues, no fuel or emissions, and hassle-free electric car rental services, providing users with on-demand car rental services at prime city and airport locations across Europe. Currently, its services are available in 18 locations across nine countries.
The Hertz Corporation, a subsidiary of Hertz Global Holdings, Inc., operates the Hertz, Dollar and Thrifty vehicle rental brands throughout North America, Europe, the Caribbean, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.
The firm claims to be one of the largest worldwide vehicle rental companies. It also operates the Firefly Car Rental, Ace Rental Cars, and Hertz 24/7 in select markets as well as the Flexicar car-sharing business in Australia and New Zealand.
After successful live testing in 2021, Hertz aims to deploy UFODrive’s digital rental and fleet management technology to enhance its global EV fleet operations. Starting with Hertz’s key partners in the US and Europe, this will offer a fully digital rental experience, charge point wayfinding, touchless smartphone access, and online customer support with live telematics using UFODrive’s SaaS platform.
Recently, Hertz also announced an exclusive partnership with Uber to make Tesla electric vehicles available for drivers to rent when using the Uber network.