With $28M Series C, Silvercar Tightens Ties With Audi

Silvercar, the car rental startup that leases silver Audi automobiles through a mobile app and online, has raised $28 million led by a corporate sponsor that isn’t too much of a surprise: Audi.

Silvercar plans to use the Series C funding to expand into Las Vegas, the company’s 12th, and to improve its digital and mobile user experience, the Austin, TX-based company said in a statement. Previous investors Austin Ventures and Eduardo Saverin, co-founder of Facebook, also joined in the round.

The funding means Silvercar will be more heavily involved with Audi, too. Silvercar said it is working with Audi to further develop a program run by the German company that focuses on businesses that use car-sharing for employees, called Audi Shared Fleet.

The mobile-focused program allows companies to book one of a select group of cars online and pay per use. Employees of a company that pays for the service get membership cards, which provide them with keyless entry to the cars. Audi handles the fueling, servicing, and cleaning of the cars.

The Audi service sounds similar to Silvercar’s offering already. After booking a Silvercar rental online or through the startup’s app, the customer can gain access to the car when they arrive at the airport through the app without having to get a key from a customer service representative. The company charges a $5 fill-up fee to refill any gas you’ve used (and charges for gas it has to refill, at the local gas price rate), and tracks if you incurred any tolls, which you’ll be charged for too.

While services like Hotwire or Expedia have targeted consumers trying to save money on things like car rentals, Silvercar is targeting those who are annoyed with the car rental process. Silvercar wants to “eliminate typical frustrations and points of friction,” the company said in a statement. That means premium pricing. For three days in June, the daily rental rate of a car in Austin was $64, while it was $59 in Chicago. The price in New York was a bit higher: $79 per day.

Silvercar raised a $14 million Series B in late 2014, which was led by Saverin.

David Holley is Xconomy's national correspondent based in Austin, TX. You can reach him at dholley@xconomy.com Follow @xconholley

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