Photo: Planet42 CFO Marten Orgna and CEO Eerik Oja
Estonia-founded and South Africa-based vehicle rental startup Planet42 has announced that it has raised a $100 million round to scale its operations across South Africa and Mexico. The investment, according to CEO Eerik Oja, comprises $15 million of equity from new and existing shareholders including Naspers Limited, Andrew Rolfe, EstVCA member Change Ventures, $10 million of debt from shareholders and a $75 million credit facility from Rivonia Road Capital.
The funding will be used to ramp up the company’s South Africa operations and further accelerate the process of penetrating the Mexico market.
“In South Africa, we want to put the pedal to the metal using this new financing to quickly add about 10,000 more cars to the fleet,” he said. “In Mexico we are exploring where best to find customers, and how to switch on dealerships, so it takes time to get the ball rolling, but we have started to test the market and have about 250 cars that side.”
This is the second time that Naspers has bought equity in Planet42. The mobility startup has already deployed a fleet of about 15,000 vehicles to low-income earners, such as teachers and police officers, who struggle to access traditional vehicle financing, Oja said.
Co-founded by Oja and Marten Orgna
, Planet42 uses algorithms and data points to assess a potential customer’s risk level and generate an offer to buy a car from a dealership of choice within minutes, said Oja. In South Africa, the firm has almost a thousand car dealerships in its network already, with about 40% of its sales coming directly from the dealerships, he said.
The plan to move into Mexico next, came after Oja and his partners looked into markets such as Nigeria and Brazil and decided that the North American country had the most similarities to the South African market.
“It’s very similar to South Africa in terms of income and a car penetration and development or lacks thereof, of financial services,” Oja said. “Plus public transportation there is slow, unreliable, and dangerous, opening up a big market opportunity.”
**Image credit: Planet42; https://unsplash.com/@caroliniecavalli