Car Rental Startup Silvercar Acquired By Audi
2012 saw some interesting startup entries into the car rental space. One of the startups, Flight Car, was bred at The Brandery in Cincinnati. They offered an alternative to traditional car rentals by allowing airline travelers to rent other airline travelers cars at the airport. The company ended up going through Y Combinator and raising $40 million dollars. In 2016 they wound down and sold their technology to Mercedez Benz.
The other startup came out of Austin Texas. They simplified the car rental management experience by only offering rentals in silver Audi A4s. This luxury rental service became very popular. So popular in fact, that they started working with Audi a short time later. Audi (owned alongside Volkswagon and Porsche) participated in a $28 million dollar series C round for Silvercar in 2015.
Now the car manufacturer has announced that it is acquiring Silvercar. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“The two companies have worked together since 2012, developing and delivering innovative consumer mobility offerings under the Audi mobility, Silvercar and Dealerware brands,” Audi said in a statement.
More and more car manufacturers are acquiring startups to speed up the innovation process. While they’re naturally buying technologies that can be incorporated into the car manufacturing experience, some manufacturers are buying up or investing in other transportation alternatives. For instance, GM has invested in and partnered with Lyft, to work on autonomous vehicles.
“Audi and Silvercar share a vision for the future of transportation,” Matt Carpenter, Audi of America’s chief financial officer, added. “This acquisition enables Audi to move forward with a progressive partner and continue our technology leadership into the next era of mobility.”
“It’s no secret that Silvercar and Audi have a longstanding relationship,” wrote Silvercar CEO Luke Schneider on the company’s website. “Heck, we’ve only ever rented Audi A4s. ” He added, “I believe, as does the Silvercar team, that we are on the verge of the most profound changes in the 120-year history of modern personal transportation.”
The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2017.