Silvercar, a premium car rental company that has grown widely popular among business travelers, is in the early stages of a sale to Audi.
Founded in April of 2012, Silvercar made waves in the car rental industry by employing a host of Audi A4s exclusively for use in its fleet. With prices competitive to typical car rental companies and a boutique approach, the service quickly gained traction among business travelers with more flexible spending accounts and a hunger for some variety in the vehicle rental process.
Among its innovations, Silvercar was the first major car rental company to allow bookings and vehicle check in and check out via a mobile phone. Combined with personal concierges that frequently pick up passengers at the airport curb, the service earned a reputation as a tech-forward car rental company while other legacy operators had languished.
Silvercar has since spread to a handful of metropolitan airports around the country and raised $59.53M in equity funding along the way, according to Crunchbase. Among its most prominent investors is Eduardo Saverin, an original founder of Facebook.
Interestingly, in April of 2015 Audi launched a service similar to Silvercar out of San Francisco called Audi on Demand, though it was not billed as a direct competitor. The Ingolstadt, Germany-based vehicle manufacturer has had a minority stake in the company since early days, leading an A and C round of venture funding; with the proposed acquisition, Audi will end up owning 100% of the shares.
“Audi and Silvercar share the same vision,” said Dietmar Voggenreiter, Board Member for Sales and Marketing at AUDI AG in an announcement earlier this week. “We want to open up a new, flexible way to access mobility for our customers while offering premium quality in every respect. Now we are joining forces and, together, are driving our initiative for innovative mobility services forward.”
Neither Audi nor Silvercar made any statements about how the rental service will expand or contract as a function of the acquisition or whether Audi’s rental, but in a blog post, Silvercar’s CEO Luke Schneider suggested that customers could look forward to ”more choices, more convenience and an even better experience as we continue the journey we started.”
The acquisition is still subject to regulatory approval but is expected to move forward in the first half of 2017.