Car sharing tech firm turns to crowdfunding
A London start-up which incorporates keyless car entry technology into its car sharing service has launched a crowdfunding campaign to support its expansion plans.
Hiyacar, which was featured in BusinessCloud’s 101 Tech Disrupters and 51 Tech 1sts lists, is aiming to raise a minimum investment of £500,000 through Crowdcube and has already exceeded 60 per cent of its target.
The money will be used to scale its marketing and further develop its keyless QuickStart technology.
The company was set up three years ago by CEO Graeme Risby and COO Rob Larmour with the goal of changing the perception of car ownership in a digital age.
"We actually didn't launch the crowdfunding campaign for money, as we’ve recently closed a large investment offline," Risby told BusinessCloud.
"We did it to give our members the chance to own a piece of the pie."
Billed as 'Airbnb for cars', the service allows car owners to turn a 'liability' into an asset by hiring out their vehicles to local people during times when they're not being used.
The start-up's QuickStart technology allows a user to access their rental car without having to collect keys from the owner.
It lets car hirers open the car with their phone as soon as their booking starts and can revoke access at any time, adding reassurance for owners.
"We've now got 50,000 members all over the UK and we continue to grow – our biggest challenge is still getting our keyless QuickStart technology boxes out there," Risby said.
"We have already invested £2m in the technology and the crowdfunding round will help us further develop the product."
Hiyacar is raising funds to be the biggest UK car sharing service by 2020, and the start-up is on track to have the biggest fleet of keyless vehicles by the end of the year.
"We plan to have a total of 5,000 keyless cars in London next year," Risby said.
"We do have aspirations to expand beyond Britain but the UK has more than 30 million cars so we want to be the number one in the country before expanding to other areas."
Enjoy extra content and videos in the interactive digital magazine below