Zoom car rental raises USD30k in angel funding, gets American economist on board

A car rental service provider, Zoom, based out of Bangalore has raised $30k  in angel funding from Larry Summers, a former director of the United States National Economic Council, as reported by Vccircle. Larry Summers will be a part of company’s board now with the commencement of the deal.

As per David Back, co founder and president Zoom, with the raised funds, they will be adding 15-20 more vehicles in June and 30-40 in July, up from current 19 vehicles.

Earlier this year, company has also raised $215k from Empire Angels, New York and an investor group based out of U.K led by Lady Barbara. The company was looking to expand to multiple neighbourhoods in the city as well as to Mumbai and Delhi within nine months with the raised funds.

Car clubs are thriving in developed countries such as the US, UK, and Singapore, as well as developing countries such as China, Turkey, and Brazil. But organized car clubs are not yet present in any Indian city. Zoom has identified Bangalore as the optimal first market in India given its highly educated population, youthful demographics, residential development patterns, vast university network, public transportation infrastructure, and fluency in new technology.

Zoom allows registered members to hire cars for self-drive by the hour or by the day, right in their neighborhood. Zoom will have vehicles distributed throughout a city – with at least one vehicle within a 10-minute walk of where the majority of members live or work.

The site provides a filter based search for the available cars on the basis of Location , pickup and return, date and time. Currently, the rentals range from INR 199 to INR 249 per hour. Members can reserve the cars online and then use a zoom app or sms to unlock and start their reserved car. Reservation, pickup, and return are all self-service. The cars are equipped with a system to remotely disable the engine starter in case of theft.

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Zoom’s low rates cover the entire trip, including petrol, taxes, and insurance. It does not charge for transporting additional passengers, further enhancing the value to students or other members on a budget. The zoom team are able to monitor cars, disable them completely and also monitor speeds and Fuel limit.

Unlike west, manpower is pretty cheap in India and coupled with the facts that driving here is best left to professional drivers, the idea of self drive car rentals doesn’t seem to have really taken off. Although, the drastic change in the economic scenario of the country, growth of the tourism and aviation industries and the improvement in road conditions in recent years has fueled the growth of the car rental industry.

Some of the other players in the industry include Hertz’s Indian franchisee, Carzonrent India, Mercury Car Rentals (Avis) and International Travel House.