Paris-based startup Virtuo aims to disrupt car rental market with fresh funding of €20M

Bernard Liautaud, managing partner at Balderton Capital stated, “Technology in cars and other areas of mobility is evolving rapidly, due to concerns …

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The car rental market in Europe is getting competitive with each year. One of the French startups Virtuo has now become a strong contender in the car rental arena after the fresh capital inflow of £17.3 million (€20 million) from Iris Capital. Other participants in the series B funding round were existing investors including Balderton Capital and Raise Ventures.

Investors’ take on the funding

Stéphane Pesqué, partner at Iris Capital expressed, “Virtuo’s founders have created a business that is disrupting car rental from the ground up relying on a unique digital path for users. We love their attention to detail and their determination to perfect the customer experience, which will convince occasional and frequent drivers that Virtuo is the best solution when travelling for work and leisure in Europe. We are very proud to invest in them at this stage.”

Bernard Liautaud, managing partner at Balderton Capital stated, “Technology in cars and other areas of mobility is evolving rapidly, due to concerns over the environment and congestion. Given these shifts, renting a car as and when you need it is becoming a viable alternative to buying, particularly for younger people who have come of age as the sharing economy took off. The same way innovative tech companies are disrupting legacy players in sectors like finance, Virtuo, in which we first invested 18 months ago, is radically changing the way we hire a car.”

Virtuo – disrupting the car rental market

Founded in Paris in 2016, Virtuo has eliminated all the logjams of traditional car booking through its 24X7 digital solution. Users can create an account within few minutes validating their driving licences and with a shelfie.

The platform offers customised flexible car rental plans depending upon the users’ need. One can pick a car from a scheduled place with a smart key linked with the app.

Generated 10X revenue in the UK

The Parisian startup began its operations in London just seven months back and endured a 10 times revenue within this stipulated period. Functional in 21 locations in France and Belgium, the startup is escalating at a rate of 200% annually.

Aims to become a pan-European service provider

Post the funding, Virtuo is looking forward to commencing operations in Germany and Spain. By summer this year, the car rental platform is going to start services in other UK cities including Manchester, Edinburgh and Bristol.

Virtuo co-founder Karim Kaddoura articulated, “Now is the right time for this investment because we want to revolutionise car rental across Europe and show that with our service, there is simply no need to own a car anymore. Travel outside cities in many European countries is not well served. Here in the UK, the railways are becoming less efficient and increasingly expensive. We want to show a younger generation that cars are still a really convenient and cheap way to travel and that you don’t need to own a vehicle to be able to have on-demand and hassle-free access to it.”

Stay tuned to Silicon Canals for more updates in the tech startup world.

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London-based InReach Ventures raises €53M fund, uses AI to find best European startups

The VC firm was founded in 2015 by Roberto Bonanzinga (former Balderton Capital General Partner), Ben Smith (former U.K. Engineering Director at …

London-based InReach Ventures raises €53M fund, uses AI to find best European startups

09:30 February 13, 2019

This article will take you 1 minute(s) to read

London-based venture capital firm InReach Ventures has just declared the closing of new €53 million funding for European tech startups. The VC firm was founded in 2015 by Roberto Bonanzinga (former Balderton Capital General Partner), Ben Smith (former U.K. Engineering Director at Yammer) and John Mesrie (former General Counsel at Balderton Capital).

AI-powered efficient flow of capital

InReach Ventures through its AI-driven technology — ‘DIG’ — facilitates potential startups with smart channeling of funds. Till date, the company has empowered eight startups including Oberlo (Lithuania), which was later acquired by Shopify, Soldo (Italy/UK), Tutorful (U.K.), Shapr3D (Hungary), Traitly (Sweden) and Loot (Germany).

Aims to support promising startups across Europe

InReach will invest the new fund in innovations across Europe, especially in sectors like consumer internet, software as a service and marketplaces.

InReach co-founder Roberto Bonanzinga shared, “We are geographically agnostic and will invest in companies anywhere in Europe, from Helsinki to Barcelona, from Warsaw to Rome. In most cases we will be the first institutional investors and our first cheques will be between €500,000 and €2 million.”

InReach Ventures explores the perspectives of entrepreneurs and kindles their ideas for innovation.

Stay tuned to Silicon Canals for more updates in the tech startup world.

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InReach ventures launches new €53m fund

The firm was founded by, Roberto Bonanzinga, former General Partner at Balderton Capital/Benchmark Europe, Ben Smith, former UK Engineering …

InReach Ventures, the AI-powered Venture Capital firm, today announced the first closing of a new fund of €53m, targeted at early stage European technology companies. This first closing surpassed the original fund target of €50m.

InReach Ventures is pioneering the use of software and Artificial Intelligence to discover, evaluate and support investments in the most promising early stage European start-ups. Like the tech disruptors it is looking to finance, the firm has a strong technology background. It has invested over €3m in the development of its own proprietary technology over the last three years, and over half the team are software engineers.

The firm’s mission is to uncover and fund game-changing tech start-ups from all over Europe, without geographic boundaries. Its proprietary software-based approach, underpinned by machine learning, generates and evaluates deal-flow significantly more efficiently than traditional venture firms.

Through the firm’s software stack, the InReach team is uniquely positioned to discover and analyse thousands of new opportunities each month, helping it to unleash technology entrepreneurship emanating from any corner of Europe. The firm’s objective is not to automate the actual decision making process for investing in startups, but to use technology to make this process far more scalable, efficient and informed.

Roberto Bonanzinga, investment partner at InReach Ventures said, “We are very excited by the opportunity for European technology entrepreneurship. However, if we look at the biggest tech companies in the world today by market capitalisation, European companies are significantly underrepresented.

“We need to adopt an approach which is tailored for Europe, or we will continue to fall behind. Entrepreneurs can found companies anywhere in Europe, from Helsinki to Barcelona, from Warsaw to Rome, and yet many fail to get noticed at the right time. As European venture capitalists, we need a new approach that is distinct and tailored to deal with this geographic fragmentation and economic reality. We believe the only way to achieve this is through a software-based approach, powered by AI.”

Since inception in 2015, InReach has already invested in eight start-ups from across Europe, including: Oberlo (Lithuania) subsequently acquired by Shopify, Soldo (Italy/UK), Tutorful (UK), Shapr3D (Hungary), Traitly (Sweden) and Loots (Germany).

The firm was founded by, Roberto Bonanzinga, former General Partner at Balderton Capital/Benchmark Europe, Ben Smith, former UK Engineering Director at Yammer (Microsoft) and CTO at various technology start-ups John Mesrie, former General Counsel at Balderton Capital/Benchmark Europe.

The trio’s unique blend of experience from high-powered VC and tech firms enables them to provide technological, operational, and strategic guidance and support to startup founders.

Bonanzinga said, “When we started InReach, people didn’t believe that AI could be applied to venture capital. We are here to prove them wrong.

“With this new fund closing, we are now leading the way in European VC innovation and we aim to help entrepreneurs across Europe innovate and disrupt as many industries as possible. And because we develop proprietary technology ourselves, we understand deeply the way tech companies work, how they can grow to meet the demands of their market, and how they can scale up to reach their full potential.”

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European car rental startup Virtuo inks about $23 mln

European car rental service Virtuo has raised 17.3 million pounds (about $23 million) in funding. The investors were Iris Capital, Balderton Capital and …

European car rental service Virtuo has raised 17.3 million pounds (about $23 million) in funding. The investors were Iris Capital, Balderton Capital and Raise Ventures.

PRESS RELEASE

London, 12th February 2019

Car rental startup, Virtuo, stepped up its battle against the giant car rental companies today by announcing that it has raised £17.3m from Iris Capital, Balderton Capital and Raise Ventures to help it make a big push into the UK market in 2019. Virtuo, which currently operates in 21 locations in France and Belgium, also launches in Spain and in Germany in 2019, making it a truly pan-European rental option for drivers who are fed up with being served so poorly by the existing car hire sector.

Virtuo launched in London last summer, having been born out of frustration with traditional car rental. The Virtuo app allows users to book and unlock a pristine Mercedes A-Class or GLA in minutes, at stations across London, and the business has seen revenue grow by 10 times in the UK in the last seven months. As a whole, the company is growing at a rate of 200% per annum.

“Now is the right time for this investment, because we want to revolutionise car rental across Europe and show that with our service, there is simply no need to own a car anymore,” said Virtuo’s Co-founder, Karim Kaddoura. “Travel outside cities in many European countries is not well served. Here in the UK, the railways are becoming less efficient and increasingly expensive. We want to show a younger generation that cars are still a really convenient and cheap way to travel and that you don’t need to own a vehicle to be able to have on-demand and hassle-free access to it.”

Virtuo promises to eradicate the horrors of traditional car hire including hour-long queues at rental desks, unnecessary up-selling of insurance and accessories, never being able to get the car you actually booked, as well as opaque terms and conditions that make hiring stressful and steep penalties easy to incur. Virtuo users can complete all paperwork in the app before picking up a valeted car from their chosen spot and unlocking it with a smart key downloaded to their phone.

Through the app, drivers can extend and modify bookings in seconds and are rewarded for returning their car with extra fuel. The digital car key can be shared between four additional drivers, for no extra charge, and competitive rental rates vary depending on demand, period and rental duration.

Stéphane Pesqué, partner at Iris Capital, said: “Virtuo’s founders have created a business that is disrupting car rental from the ground up relying on a unique digital path for users. We love their attention to detail and their determination to perfect the customer experience, which will convince occasional and frequent drivers that Virtuo is the best solution when travelling for work and leisure in Europe. We are very proud to invest in them at this stage.”

Bernard Liautaud, managing partner of Balderton Capital, said: “Technology in cars and other areas of mobility is evolving rapidly, due to concerns over the environment and congestion. Given these shifts, renting a car as and when you need it is becoming a viable alternative to buying, particularly for younger people who have come of age as the sharing economy took off. The same way innovative tech companies are disrupting legacy players in sectors like finance, Virtuo, in which we first invested 18 months ago, is radically changing the way we hire a car.”

Virtuo is disrupting the car rental space with a product that sets out to fix all the pain points of traditional car rental. During 2019 the mobile-only car hire company will introduce the ability to pick up a vehicle in one place and drop it off elsewhere. It will also launch in Spain and Germany in June, further serving travellers who are frustrated by legacy car-rental companies.

Virtuo facts

Virtuo service is available at six UK locations: Waterloo, Victoria, St Pancras, Marble Arch, Kensington High Street, Stratford International and will shortly be available in Earl’s Court, Shepherd’s Bush, London Bridge, Liverpool Street and Heathrow

Further UK locations – Manchester, Bristol, Edinburgh – pending

France: 19 locations

Belgium: 2 locations

Virtuo has had 500,000 downloads of the app

Age bracket of Virtuo’s customer is 25-35

Average number of days of each rental: 4

80% of customers go for the compact A Class, while 20% take SUV

325 average miles per rental

How does Virtuo work:

Customers create their account by providing their driver’s license and a selfie. The whole process takes just a couple of minutes and only has to be carried out once

Once users have decided on their preferred model, Mercedes A-Class or GLA, they can choose the best insurance coverage and personalised options that suit their needs.

The Virtuo app guides users to their car – Virtuo has no rental desks- and takes them through every step of the process.

As customers get closer to their car, they can use the virtual key in the app to unlock it.

A quick damage report is carried out in the app using your phone’s camera

Virtuo’s tariff is from £35 per day in the UK, depending on demand, period and rental duration. The tariff includes up to 150 miles of travel, with the option to exceed this for a surcharge of £0.10 per mile. Up to 4 additional drivers can be registered for each car.

Virtuo’s customer service team can be contacted 24/7 through an integrated chat module that allows the user to ask questions and receive answers in real time.

About Virtuo:

Virtuo was founded out of the frustrations of renting a car from a traditional car rental company. Launched in France in 2016, the company provides a seamless, convenient and affordable way to lease premium cars, through a mobile app. Without paperwork and available 24/7, Virtuo’s cars can be rented from convenient locations like airports and railway stations in France, Belgium and the UK, with more locations opening in 2019. www.govirtuo.com

About Iris Capital

Iris Capital is a leading European VC specialized in the digital economy. It fuels entrepreneurs at various stages of maturity, from early-stage to growth equity. With its deep sector specialization and extensive experience acquired over 30+ years, as well as the backing of its corporate sponsors, Iris Capital provides active support to its portfolio companies, through its presence in Paris, Berlin, San Francisco, Tel Aviv, Tokyo and Dubai.

For more information, visit www.iriscapital.com

About RAISE Ventures:

Founded in 2013 by Clara Gaymard and Gonzague de Blignières, the RAISE Group is organized around four complementary activities: RAISE Investments, RAISE REIM, RAISE Ventures and the RAISESHERPAS Endowment Fund.

– RAISE Investments is a €410 million development capital company targeting ITEs with strong growth potential and taking stakes of between €10 million and €50 million;

– RAISE REIM, a portfolio management company dedicated to real estate, whose first vehicle has a capital of 210M€;

– RAISE Ventures, a €60 million investment company targeting innovative start-ups, within which RAISE Media Investment, a media investment company, is integrated;

– The RAISESHERPAS Endowment Fund, a philanthropic structure with a budget of more than €22 million to support, finance and network startups in order to help them build sustainable adventures.

The RAISE Group is based on a financing mechanism that combines profitability and generosity, since the investment teams give 50% of their profit-sharing to finance the RAISESHERPAS Endowment Fund. This pioneering system in France makes it possible to create a virtuous ecosystem, combining large groups and institutional shareholders, TWAs and startups.

For more information: www.raise.co

About Balderton Capital:

Balderton Capital is Europe’s largest early stage venture capital investor, focused on European technology companies at Series A. Based in London, the firm manages $2.6bn and invests in entrepreneurs building globally ambitious businesses. Balderton’s Partners and advisory team include the founders and operational leaders of multi-billion dollar companies including Business Objects, Dropbox, Uber and Autonomy. Previous investments include Betfair (FTSE: BET), Magic Pony (Twitter), NaturalMotion (Zynga), Sunrise (Microsoft) and Yoox Net-a-Porter (BIT: YNAP). Among Balderton’s current portfolio of 76 companies are: Aircall, Carwow, Citymapper, Contentful, GoCardless, The Hut Group, Kobalt Music, Nutmeg, Prodigy Finance, Recorded Future, Revolut, ROLI, SOPHiA Genetics, Talend (NASDAQ: TLND), Vestiaire Collective, and Vivino. For more see http://www.balderton.com or follow @balderton.

Virtuo Raises £17.3M in Series B Funding

Virtuo, a Paris, France-based car rental startup, raised £17.3m in Series B funding. Backers included Iris Capital, Balderton Capital and Raise …

virtuoVirtuo, a Paris, France-based car rental startup, raised £17.3m in Series B funding.

Backers included Iris Capital, Balderton Capital and Raise Ventures.

The company intends to use the funds to continue to expand operations and its business reach.

Launched in France in 2016 by Karim Kaddoura, Virtuo provides an app that allows users to book and unlock premium cars. Available 24/7, cars can be rented from locations like airports and railway stations in France, Belgium and the UK, with more locations opening in 2019.

The company aims to expand into the UK, Spain and in Germany in 2019.

Users can complete all paperwork in the app, including the choice of the best insurance coverage and personalised options that suit their needs, before picking up a valeted car from their chosen spot and unlocking it with a smart key downloaded to their phone. Through the app, drivers can extend and modify bookings in seconds and are rewarded for returning their car with extra fuel. The digital car key can be shared between four additional drivers, for no extra charge, and competitive rental rates vary depending on demand, period and rental duration.

The tariff is from £35 per day in the UK, depending on demand, period and rental duration. The tariff includes up to 150 miles of travel, with the option to exceed this for a surcharge of £0.10 per mile. Up to 4 additional drivers can be registered for each car.

The customer service team can be contacted 24/7 through an integrated chat module that allows the user to ask questions and receive answers in real time.

Virtuo has had 500,000 downloads of the app.

FinSMEs

12/02/2019

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