SEOUL, April 4 (Korea Bizwire) — Private equity firm IMM PE will fuel Socar’s expansion with a 60 billion won investment, South Korea’s leading car sharing service announced yesterday.
Sources with knowledge of the deal say IMM PE is betting on Socar’s potential for continued growth as well as its finding success in the future “robo-taxis” market. Founded in 2011, Socar’s year-on-year revenue growth has consistently been above 50 percent over the past five years. The service pulled in 110 billion won in revenue last year.
IMM PE joins founder Lee Jae-woong, SK, Bain Capital and venture capital firm Premier Partners as key shareholders in Socar. Lee holds 45 percent of the company followed by SK, which invested 58.8 billion won in 2016 and currently holds a 27 percent stake.
Besides further building up the car sharing market, Socar is committed to developing autonomous driving technology and big data solutions.
Socar and Greencar are the two major players in South Korea’s car sharing market. Socar has approximately 3,200 Socar zones (car rental locations), 8,500 vehicles and 3.6 million registered users. Greencar is a step behind with around 2,800 rental locations, 6,000 vehicles and 2.5 million registered users.
Earlier this year, Socar revealed its overseas ambitions by announcing it will begin operations in Malaysia with 240 vehicles at 120 rental zones.
Socar users can peruse the various vehicles available for rental and locate the nearest rental zone via the Socar app. The convenience in being able to rent vehicles in 10-minute blocks and aggressive financial investment has kept Socar ahead of Greencar as the car sharing industry leader.