Virtuo raises $96 million to provide a leading alternative to car ownership for over 1 million European drivers
Paris, May 20th, 2021 – Virtuo – the car-on-demand service helping drive the shift away from car ownership across Europe – has raised €50 million ($60 million) in a Series C funding round led by AXA Venture Partners.
The round, which also saw participation from Bpifrance through their Large Venture funds, Alpha Intelligence Capital and H14 alongside existing investors Balderton Capital, Iris Capital and Raise Ventures, takes the total equity raised by Virtuo close to $100 million since its creation. In addition, Natixis and several members of the Banque Populaire and Caisse d’Epargne Group are granting Virtuo a pan-european asset based financing of €30 million ($36 million), to support the development of its fleet, bringing this new round of financing to $96 million.
It also comes off the back of Virtuo being selected as part of the French Tech 120 programme – a development scheme designed to support only the very best French scale ups with the potential to become global giants.
With this new funding round, Virtuo is seeking to invest in their technology and launch innovative new services that will position its car on-demand service as a key alternative to car ownership. Alongside the development of the app and the experience, the investment will allow them to accelerate their european expansion and the electrification of the fleet.
Shifting gears to sustainable mobility
Virtuo was founded in 2016 to revolutionise the car rental industry, an industry typically fraught with long queues, arduous paperwork and hidden fees. With its 100% digital app experience, Virtuo has not only emerged as the convenient and modern alternative to car rental for city escapes and mid-distance trips, but as an alternative to owning a car altogether. Virtuo is focused on understanding and developing an app-based experience that fulfils the needs of the new generation of drivers with a particular focus on urbanites from major European cities across its regions of France, the United Kingdom and Spain.
“Our ambition for Virtuo and our car on-demand service is to reinvent our relationship with cars. To provide all the benefits that cars can offer while using technology to remove the physical burden,” say Karim Kaddoura and Thibault Chassagne, Virtuo’s Co-founders. “We believe you should be able to access a car the same way you stream music or films: the car should appear on demand when you need it, but disappear from sight when you don’t.”
This ambition was brought to life by Virtuo with the launch of their new delivery service, Virtuo Delivered, where you can get your Virtuo car delivered and collected from your chosen
address. The service has been extensively tested and rolled out across London and recently launched in Paris and Madrid.
“Our vision is that our car-on-demand service should support a new social contract between city dwellers and the car, where they benefit from the freedom a car brings but without the burden on our cities and the environment,” they add. “At Virtuo, we want to put cars in people’s pockets, not on city streets.”
Accelerated international expansion & electrification
This investment is also the opportunity for Virtuo to accelerate its presence in Europe: already present in France, the United Kingdom and Spain, the service is going to expand to Milan as soon as this month of May, and launch in Germany by 2022 to cover about 10 markets by 2025. Virtuo will launch with both their consumer offering as well as their Virtuo for Business service, where businesses can enjoy exclusive corporate benefits. With ambitious plans for European expansion, Virtuo is also looking to accelerate the electrification of its fleet.
Following its industry-first partnership with Hyundai in France, which saw Virtuo integrating the Kona Electric into its fleet as part of a groundbreaking revenue sharing business model, Virtuo is aiming to electrify 50% of its fleet by 2025, and to have a 100% electric fleet by 2030. In the meantime, Virtuo has been offsetting 100% of its carbon footprint since 1 January 2021, contributing to local clean energy and certified projects in Europe.
“We are very proud and excited to be part of the Virtuo adventure alongside the Virtuo team, led by Karim and Thibault,” says Benoit Fosseprez, General Partner at AXA Venture Partners. “Virtuo has quickly become a tech leader disrupting the car rental space, with a clear long-term vision and strong ambitions for growth into new markets. We have been impressed by the Virtuo team and look forward to working closely together on the next stages of their development. With this investment in Virtuo, the first for our Growth II fund, we are confirming our ambition in the tech-led high growth companies segment.”
Caroline Lebel of Bpifrance’s Large Venture fund adds “We are delighted to support Virtuo in its development. The company offers a true alternative to owning private cars for city dwellers who wish to use more sustainable shared mobility solutions. Born in the digital era, Virtuo’s 100% digital experience is backed by powerful technology and artificial intelligence to optimize its operations. We are convinced that the mobility of tomorrow must be built with strong technology at its core, addressing new behaviors and with the freedom of choice of a multimodal offer.”
This funding round will allow Virtuo to focus on a new objective: conquer one million active customers across Europe by 2025.
Virtuo was founded in 2016 with the objective of reinventing car rental through their mobile app that allows users to unlock and start their Virtuo rental car with no need for paperwork, rental counters and queues.
Since launch, Virtuo has emerged as not only an alternative to car rental, but an alternative to owning a car for urbanites who want to escape the city. With its car on-demand service, Virtuo wants to give back all the freedoms of the car to city dwellers, without the burden on Cities and the Planet. Virtuo is available with both a consumer offering as well as their Virtuo for Business service, where businesses can enjoy exclusive corporate benefits.
Selected as part of the French Tech 120 in 2021, Virtuo has raised close to $100 million, from AXA Venture Partners, Bpifrance, Alpha Intelligence Capital, H14, following investments from Balderton Capital, Iris Capital, and Raise Ventures.
As of May 2021, Virtuo is present in four countries (France, Italy, Spain & United Kingdom) and eighteen major European cities including Paris, London, Manchester, Barcelona and Madrid.
About AXA Venture Partners
AXA Venture Partners (AVP) is an international venture capital company investing in high-growth technology companies. In less than five years, AVP has built a unique investment platform specialized in technology investments with 1 billion euros assets under management around three core investment areas: early stage, growth stage and funds of funds. AVP has invested in more than 45 companies and 15 funds to date. The AVP team operates globally, with offices in San Francisco, New York, Londres, Paris and Hong Kong. More than investissements, AVP offers unique business development opportunities, helping their portfolio companies to develop globally and accelerate growth.
Learn more: www.axavp.com
About Bpifrance and its Large Venture fund
Equity investments by Bpifrance are operated by Bpifrance Investissement. Bpifrance funds companies at every stage of their development through credit, guarantees and equity. Bpifrance supports businesses in their innovation and international growth. Bpifrance also supports these businesses with their export activities through a broad range of products. They offer entrepreneurs consulting, university courses, networking and an acceleration programme for start-ups, small and mid-size businesses. With BPI and its 49 regional sites, entrepreneurs can benefit from a local and single point of contact to help them face their challenges.
With 1,75 Md€, Large Venture is Bpifrance’s venture growth fund dedicated to high potential technology companies, aiming at helping French champions emerge as future global leaders in their markets. Large Venture is an active shareholder and brings a long term vision. It always co-invests, as lead or as follower. Large Venture participates into fundraising superior to 20m€ with a minimum stake of 10m€. The fund already invested in more than 55 companies since its creation in 2013.
Learn more on www.Bpifrance.fr
Follow us on Twitter : @Bpifrance – @BpifrancePresse
About Alpha Intelligence Capital (AIC)
Alpha Intelligence Capital (AIC) is an entrepreneurs-led, entrepreneurs-invested, global closed-end private venture capital fund, based in San Francisco, Paris and Hong Kong. It invests in deep Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML) technology-based companies.
AIC believes that AI is the Future. Its core focus lies in companies with deep expertise in the algorithmic sciences and their application to developing breakthrough products and to solving real business problems.
The AIC’s team and Advisory Committee members come from executive level positions in successful startups, universities, private equity firms and VC funds. With a long history and strong background in a variety of industries, AIC uses expert experience to promote both long and short-term wealth generation.
H14 is an Italian Family Office headquartered in Milan and it is a qualified shareholder of Fininvest SpA, one of the largest European media groups. H14 invests across several asset classes, including direct investments in digital and tech companies in Europe and the US.
As an investor in Venture and Growth capital, H14 acts as a long-term partner, supporting digital entrepreneurs and companies to expand their business across Europe through its strategic network.
About BALDERTON CAPITAL
Balderton Capital is a leading London-based venture firm focused exclusively on backing the best European-founded technology companies. In the two decades since our founding, we have worked with hundreds of extraordinary European founders, and have raised eight funds totalling more than $3bn. Our current, active portfolio includes more than 100 companies, founded in 15 countries across Europe, today employing over 23,000 people.
About Iris Capital
Iris Capital is a European VC specialized in the digital economy. Since 1986, it has been fueling entrepreneurs at various stages of maturity, from early stage to growth equity. With its deep sector specialization and extensive experience acquired over 30+ years, as well as the backing of its corporate sponsors, Iris Capital provides active support to its portfolio companies, through its presence in Paris, Berlin, San Francisco, Tel Aviv, Tokyo and Dubai. IrisNext, Iris Capital’s new fund, is supported by industry leaders and institutions such as Orange, Publicis, Valeo, Bridgestone, Bpifrance and BRED Banque Populaire. Iris Capital investments include, among others, companies such as Adjust, Careem, Celeno, Exotec, Jedox, Kyriba, LeanIX, Open-Xchange, Monk, Netatmo, Scality, Shift Technology, Talend, Virtuo, Yubo and Zeta.
For more information, visit www.iriscapital.com
About RAISE Ventures
RAISE Ventures is a Venture Capital investment company developed as part of Groupe RAISE, funded by Clara Gaymard and Gonzague de Blignières. With a capital of 100m€, RAISE Ventures aims to support innovative start-ups and help them develop and expand internationally.
The RAISE Group combines profitability and generosity with their investment teams (RAISE Investissement, RAISE REIM, RAISE Ventures, RAISE Impact et RaiseLab) giving 50% of their profit to finance an Endowment fund, RAISESHERPAS, dedicated to startups development. This approach, new in France, allows RAISE to create a virtuous ecosystem, bringing large groups and institutional shareholders together with mid-size companies and startups. RAISE Ventures gets the Diversity VC Certification with a score of 80%.
About Groupe BPCE
Groupe BPCE, with its business model as a universal cooperative bank represented by 9 million cooperative shareholders, is currently the 2nd-largest banking group in France. With its 100,000 employees, it serves a total of 36 million customers – individuals, professionals, corporates, investors, and local government bodies – around the world. It operates in the retail banking and insurance sectors in France via its two major Banque Populaire and Caisse d’Epargne banking networks, along with Banque Palatine. With Natixis, it also runs global business lines specializing in Asset & Wealth management, Corporate & Investment Banking, Insurance and Payments. Through this structure, it is able to offer its customers a comprehensive, diversified range of products and services: solutions in savings, investment, cash management, financing, and insurance. The Group’s financial strength is recognized by four financial rating agencies: Moody’s (A1, stable outlook), Standard & Poor’s (A+, negative outlook), Fitch (A+, negative outlook) and R&I (A+, stable outlook).
Press Contacts Virtuo / Burlington
Sayula Kirby / firstname.lastname@example.org
Press Contacts AXA Venture Partners
Sébastien Loubry, Partner, Head of Business Development / +33 6 15 31 61 68
DGM Conseil :
Thomas de Climens – email@example.com / +33 6 14 50 15 84 Quentin Hua – firstname.lastname@example.org / +33 6 28 63 27 29
Press Contacts Bpifrance
Laure Schlagdenhauffen email@example.com / +33 1 41 79 85 38