Along with AutoBinck and founders, Europcar has invested €10 million in Snappcar, an app which allows its users to share their car with other network members. The financial injection should help Snappcar in achieving its goal of reducing the number of cars in European cities by 5 million within the next five years. For the Europcar Group, Snappcar is a welcome addition to its expanding portfolio of mobility solutions.
Snappcar, a Dutch company which was founded in 2011 in the city of Utrecht, provides car owners with the possibility of renting out their car during the large amounts of time it‘s standing still. Recently it was announced that a consortium – consisting of French car rental company Europcar, Dutch automobile dealer AutoBinck and Danish startup studio Founders – has made a €10 million investment in Snappcar. In return, Europcar will receive a 20% minority stake. AutoBinck had previously already invested €2 million in Snappcar and Founders had also gotten on board at an earlier phase. The two investors will also receive interest, but it is unclear at what rate. What is clear, however, is that the combined shares of the consortium still only amount to a minority stake in the company.
Currently Snappcar currently operates in the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden and, according to the company, within these three countries it has a total of 250,000 users who share 30,000 cars together. The new investment should help the company in achieving “a big hairy audacious goal” in these locales and beyond. Within the current year Snappcar wants to expand to two or three more cities, and with the next 18 months it has designs on a further six European cities. “This could be achieved autonomously, but also with acquisitions”, according to co-founder Victor van Tol. Previously the company acquired the Danish Minbildinbil and Swedish Flexidrive car sharing services.
However, the grand designs of Snappcar do not end there, with the company’s more idealistic long-term goal remaining the strong decline in the number of cars in Europe. As their operations grow, the hope is that in five years there would be up to 5 million fewer cars than at present, resulting in a CO2-reduction of millions of tonnes, and a lot of extra free up space in urban areas. According to Snappcar, the average car is standing still for 23 hours a day and the company has dedicated itself to fighting this inefficiency.
The €10 million injection is not the only way in which associating with Europcar can attribute to achieving these ambitions. “Besides capital, Europcar also brings knowledge of the traditional car rental industry to Snappcar,” Van Tol noted, concluding that in the near future, when at certain moments no Snappcars are available, the app can instead point its users to Europcar-vehicles, “This way you can help each other.”
The financial injection can also support the development of new and useful features for the Snappcar-app, such as the possibility to use the app to unlock a car without needing a key.
For Europcar, Snappcar is a welcome addition to the company, which will help it in fulfilling its own ambitions. Europcar was founded in 1949 in Paris and with a fleet of approximately 214,000 cars, it operates in more than 140 countries. In 2006 the company became part of Eurazeo, which is among Europe’s largest investment companies.
In the coming years, the car rental company wants to become a worldwide leader in the field of mobility solutions. The company sees a bright future for car sharing concepts. By acquiring a stake in Snappcar, it further expands its portfolio of affordable and tailor-made solutions, by offering customers an attractive alternative to owning a car. The acquisition took place through Europcar Lab, the division of the company that is dedicated to promoting innovation.