Business Irish

Thursday 22 February 2018

Ireland's 'Airbnb of car rental market' aiming to raise €1m for British expansion next year


'On average users are renting cars for four days for an average cost of €150, all in.' (stock image)
'On average users are renting cars for four days for an average cost of €150, all in.' (stock image)

Fearghal O'Connor

Fleet - which bills itself as the Airbnb of the car rental market - is looking to raise €1m to expand into Britain in 2018, just months after launching in Ireland.

The Dublin-based company facilitates car owners to rent out their vehicles to other users, through a peer to peer model. Launched just 10 weeks ago, it already has almost 5,000 active users after its app was downloaded 10,000 times in its first few weeks in business.

On average users are renting cars for four days for an average cost of €150, all in. It is also set to add commercial vehicles and motorhomes to its lineup by the end of the year, ahead of any UK expansion, as well as an hourly rate.

So popular has the site proven to be that it has faced teething problems matching the number of cars available with the large number of potential renters. The business, which is a high potential startup with Enterprise Ireland, was set up by Maurice Sheehy (28), who funded his previous business - two gyms - and a house through the sale of a racehorse he bred himself. He is also a nephew of former AIB chief executive Eugene Sheehy, who is not involved in the business.

Maurice Sheehy said he received an initial private investment of €210,000 for market research and prototypes.

"I sold my house and put a further €250,000 in myself," he said.

"I moved home because I believe in the product so I think it was a risk worth taking. People don't know where this market is going. Do you really want to spend €10,000 a year on owning a car you only use half the time?

"And if you are going to own a car, why not utilise it rather than it burning a hole in your pocket?"

He added: "One of the main issues we are facing at the moment is getting cars on the platform because we have so many renters." Sheehy said that he is working with KPMG for a seed round of €1m and has received interest from a range of venture capital funds and wealthy individuals.

"I'm all ears at the moment to see what money we receive," said Sheehy.

"Ideally it will be from a venture capital fund with contacts within the industry who can help us with our expansion."

Sunday Indo Business

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