Car & Away, the peer to peer car rental provider and pioneer of the airport based car-sharing economy, has today announced it has raised £3.5m in funding from UK-based private investors to accelerate its UK growth and further its mission to create the smartest global peer-to-peer (P2P) car-sharing community. Car & Away, with its innovative car-sharing concept, is the future of car usership.
Car & Away launched in collaboration with London Gatwick Airport in 2017. The first person to person car-sharing service that matches car renters to car owners in a very simple and transparent way, as well as giving parking customers the opportunity to ‘rent and earn’ whilst on holiday. Car & Away renters have full certainty of the car they’ve booked (not a “similar” one) as well as avoiding counters, queues, up-sells and hidden charges of traditional car rental. The London-headquartered business, which has been described as ‘the Airbnb of cars’, is initially targeting the airport sector to meet the rental car needs of inbound travelers to the UK, while creating sustainable solutions to the car park capacity problems faced by all major airports.
The funding-round will support the launch of partnerships with a further three UK airports over the next 12 months to include Bristol Airport and another key southern airport, which, like London Gatwick are at the forefront of customer innovations, improving experiences and building sustainable solutions. The funding round will also allow Car & Away to develop a pioneering instant-book car-sharing platform, enabling any car owner to rent out their vehicle from their home whenever it is not being used. Looking ahead, Car & Away wants to be the go-to P2P car-sharing platform that offers sustainable parking solutions to airports globally and is already talking to several airports in the US and making approaches to some major airport hubs in Europe.
Strategic investors included Fullbrook Thorpe Investments LLP, the private family office of Andy Leaver, founder of Clinigen Group plc
Adjuvo, the UK investment syndicate, also made significant investments in the round. Key investors include Nick Wheeler, Founder of Charles Tyrwhitt, Lance Batchelor, CEO of Saga and former MD of Amazon, Joe Swanson, Senior Managing Director at Houlihan Lokey. Existing investors included Founders Factory and other angel investors.
In the past 12 months, the Car & Away business has increased its headcount to more than 20 staff, as well as appointing an Advisory Board of travel sector luminaries such as David Scowsill, former CEO Opodo and Global Advisor to Airbnb, and Simon Breakwell, CEO of the AA and a founder of Expedia.co.uk. Since launching its initial ‘Rent & Earn’ partnership with London Gatwick Airport in 2018, rentals from the official airport parking have grown by 35% per month while vehicle supply has grown by 30% per month.
Andy Hibbert, Founder, and CEO of Car & Away says: “The average UK car is used just four percent of the time, at an annual cost to the owner of £5,000 – it’s a painfully inefficient model that our peer-to-peer car-sharing service is designed to fundamentally overhaul. Our service means car renters finally have an alternative to expensive, poor service rental options while owners can earn some cash at the times when they genuinely have no use for their vehicle. Look past the marketing efforts of the major auto manufacturers and you’ll realize that most of us don’t enjoy a sacred bond with our car – we simply use these vehicles to get from A to B, and we pay through the nose for the privilege. Car & Away is here to provide a smarter approach to car ownership, and this funding round marks a key milestone for our business as we seek to upscale our proven rental model and reach more car owners across the UK and beyond.”
Gary Wallace at London Gatwick Airport says: “We have been working with Car & Away for 18 months and have already seen incredible growth in demand. With the help of Car & Away we are able to innovate our car parking solution meaning we not only provide new options for parking and rental customers but also can build a new sustainable growth capability for the airport. By renting parked cars out, we are freeing up space that can then be re-sold. Re-using cars and re-using space means we can avoid building more car parks. Our goals are focused on continuously improving the customer experience and airport peer to peer car sharing is enabling our customers to travel for less and deliver a great service which is hugely convenient”
About Car & Away
Car & Away are a peer to peer car sharing platform who launched at, and in collaboration with, London Gatwick Airport in December 2017. Car & Away enables car owners to make money from their car whilst it is parked at airports by renting it out to incoming passengers. The business has been launched at London Gatwick Airport, working in partnership with Gatwick Airport Ltd, Rentalcars.com, Octo, RAC, and Allianz.
Car & Away are creating a 'virtual car park' for Gatwick. This allows airports to re-sell car parking spaces at times of peak capacity and so avoid the CAPEX costs of building a new car park. This is ’smart parking’ in every sense; recycling car park spaces and in parallel reducing the need for traditional rental car fleets.
With a score of 9.8/10 Car &Away is rated number one (out of 76) on Trustpilot in the parking category and number 3 (out of 176) in the car rental category. Car & Away was selected for Founders Factory’s travel tech accelerator program, backed by easyJet.