Car-sharing platform CiteeCar is getting into gear for a major domestic and international push after securing $10 million (€7.3m) in Series A funding led by Mangrove Capital Partners. The Berlin-based company will use the money to expand both in Germany and abroad in a bid to gain market share with the number of drivers in Europe using shared cars set to rise to 15 million by 2020, according to industry analysts Frost & Sullivan.
The CiteeCar service – which uses the Kia Rio model – is pitched as being cheaper and simpler than its competitors backed by rental giants and car manufacturers, such as the DriveNow cars from BMW and Sixt which are almost ubiquitous in Berlin.
Since its launch 16 months ago, CiteeCar has amassed a fleet of 500 cars in four German cities – Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich – which can be rented from €1 an hour. The so-called CiteeHosts, who provide a parking space for the cars and promote the service among family and friends, are given a set amount of free use.
CiteeCar was founded by Mauro Mariani and rental car veteran Bill Jones, who said: “We’ve already demonstrated that at the right price point, we can mobilise thousands of people to adopt car sharing as an affordable and permanent alternative to car ownership. We’re convinced that shared access to private cars will become the norm in our already congested cities and we will be at the forefront of this urban mobility revolution.”
Michael Jackson is an engineer and investor at Luxembourg-based Mangrove, which can count Skype and Wix.com among its previous investments. He said: “City leaders recognise the political value in reducing emissions and congestion. As a result, many are fast-tracking the development of sustainable solutions to urban mobility challenges. Yet we’re the only VC with a consistent urban mobility strategy.” That strategy includes investments such as electric London taxi company Metrocab and Induct Technology, which launched the first production self-driving car.
“The global automotive industry is also ripe for transformation having evolved in a linear fashion,” Jackson added.
Also taking part in the round along with Mangrove – which had previously provided seed funding for CiteeCar – is Bscope, the direct investment arm of a leading European family office with experience in the auto industry.