Drover, a European leader in car subscriptions, has announced a successful €22.6 million funding round, which has been co-led by Target Global, RTP Global and Autotech Ventures. Channel 4 Ventures and Rider Global, as well as existing investors Cherry Ventures, bp ventures, Partech, Version One and Forward Partners also participated in the round.
Drover aims to shape the future of car retailing by building a new type of ‘car-as-a-service’ platform that streamlines the traditionally fragmented and dealership-based process of buying, financing and insuring a car into a simple online transaction. Cazoo has been successful in the UK recently, offering a home delivery/online buying service for new car purchasers. But Drover is very much a Netflix for cars – you rent the package, and when you don’t want it, hand the wheels back.
Founded in 2015, Drover has delivered record results in its consumer business during a period when traditional car sales had nearly halted completely. While in May only 13,000 new personal cars were registered in the UK, down 89% from last year, Drover more than doubled the number of new subscriptions sold compared to a year ago – finishing Q2 with a record high in revenue.
Drover will be using the fresh capital to scale its ‘car-as-a-service’ business across the UK, where it launched initially, and France, where it launched earlier this year. The startup will also continue to invest into its technology platform and into nationwide marketing campaigns.
As job security fears will be on the mind of many UK consumers, a short term lease option may well be more attractive than the usual 4-5 year deals offered by major franchised dealerships.
For one flat monthly payment, Drover customers can get a car with everything included, for a duration of one month to two years, without the need to take on debt.
Instead of steep upfront payments, lengthy credit checks, and hours spent in dealerships, Drover has created a frictionless, fully digital transaction process: users simply create a profile, upload a photo of their driver’s licence, browse a selection of cars tailored to their location and budget, then personalise their subscription package based on their preferred term time, mileage and insurance options. Drover then delivers the car to their door in as little as 72 hours, customers pay monthly throughout their subscription, and Drover takes the car back at the end of the term.
As working from home replaces traditional commuting, services like Drover will be able to sell consumers the dream of owning a prestige car on their driveway, without the expense of actually driving it for more than 5000 miles a year.
Felix Leuschner, Drover’s founder and CEO, stated: “The car market is one of the last retail categories that has yet to shift online, with online penetration of car sales being still below 1%, while 20% of all UK retail sales are now online. Drover’s digital ‘car-as-a-service’ model is the right approach to truly build the ‘Amazon of Cars’ as it lends itself much better to an online model than does the long-term commitment, high ticket size type transaction of buying a car with cash or on finance. As a result, the last few years have seen Drover evolve and grow into a serious contender in the UK car retailing market.”
Ben Kaminski, Partner at Target Global, added: “By tapping into ongoing digitalisation and on-demand trends in tandem, Felix and his team are well poised to aggressively seize market share from traditional car retailers. This new capital injection is a testament to both the team and the tech behind Drover which is disrupting the car-ownership model for the better. We’re excited to offer our support as Drover continues to scale throughout Europe.”