Austin car rental service raises $14 million

Sep 24, 2014
Austin American Statesman

Silvercar, which runs a car rental business that uses wireless technology, smartphones and silver Audis, has raised $14 million for expansion

The two-year-old Austin company targets tech-savvy business and leisure travelers with its service, which uses a rental fleet composed entirely of silver Audi A4s

Instead of traditional airport counters and check-in lines, customers book cars using the company’s Silvercar mobile app and select and unlock their cars by scanning the vehicle with their smartphone

The lead investors in the deal were Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin and California-based investment firm Velos Partners. Previous investor Austin Ventures also participated

Silvercar, which has 90 employees, has raised a total of $32 million since its founding

The company launched its first operation last year at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and has expanded to Austin, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Miami and Denver

Silvercar says its rental cost is comparable to standard or full-size cars from other rental companies. Recent online rates for Austin rentals ranged from $50 to $78 a day

Officials said the new investment will be used to break into new markets, but they did not say which cities the company will enter next

“This investment celebrates all we’ve accomplished in the car rental space, and it enables and encourages us to continue working toward our long-term vision,” CEO Luke Schneider said in a written statement

Schneider was formerly chief technology officer of the membership-based car-sharing company Zipcar Inc

Silvercar’s single vehicle lineup was conceived by its former executive chairman, Bill Diffenderffer, who was CEO of Skybus Airlines Inc. from 2005 to 2008. Skybus was a low-cost airline that aimed to provide direct flights on routes not served by major airlines. It closed in 2008

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