David Swan, 01 March 2016

Peer-to-peer car sharing start-up Car Next Door is shifting up a gear, announcing a push to have at least 10,000 cars on its platform as the latest funding round values the technology play at $12.5 million.

The valuation for Car Next Door comes after it raised about $2.5m from Caltex Australia, a strategic partnership it says will help it “get out there on a much bigger scale”.

The start-up, which offers a platform for car owners to rent out their car when they’re not using it, is plotting rapid expansion into new areas and is ramping up development of its in-house technology.

“This investment means we can increase density in existing areas and we’re expecting that the relationship with Caltex will help us to quickly build our network of people sharing their cars with each other,” Car Next Door chief executive Will Davies said.

Mr Davies said Caltex was Australia’s leading fuel and convenience retailer.

“We think there’s a lot to be gained by bringing our companies’ complementary strengths together at a time of huge growth in the digital economy,” he said.

The funds from Caltex will help expand the start-up’s car owner and borrower base in new and existing markets, and would be poured into development of the technology, he said.

Mr Davies said there was often a lot of talk about how hard it was to raise capital, but much of it was misguided. “A transaction like this goes to show there are things happening and there is money out there if you’re building a good business,” he said.

Caltex Australia chief executive Julian Segal said the investment in Car Next Door was part of the fuel distributor’s commitment to playing a role in the mobility space.

“We think that our constant engagement with car owners and users means we are ideally placed to help accelerate Car Next Door’s growth plans,” he said.

The company also plans to move into more Australian cities and to launch an airports service.

“We’re planning to open in Canberra and Newcastle within the next few weeks, and to move into more Australian cities after that,” Mr Davies said. “We’re also moving forward with our plans to let people rent their car out while they fly, instead of paying to let it sit idle in the airport car park.”

Car Next Door non-executive director Mike Rosenbaum, who also heads up peer-to-peer storage start-up Spacer, said Car Next Door’s growth was representative of an economy-wide trend towards collaborative consumption.

“The success of peer-to-peer marketplaces such as Car Next Door is representative of the shift in how consumers want to access the services they need, and the growing acceptance of collaborative consumption as a viable way for businesses and individuals to make or save money,” he said.

Extracted in full from The Australian.