Car Next Door hitches a ride with new owner Uber

Car Next Door hitches a ride with new owner Uber

Car Next Door CEO and co-founder Will Davies.

Sydney-based car sharing platform Car Next Door has been acquired by Uber for an undisclosed amount, bringing the Steve Baxter-backed business into the ride sharing giant’s fold.

In an announcement made today, Uber says the deal is part of its mission to give people options to live car-light or car-free, with the acquisition expanding its Australian operations to include car sharing.

Founded in 2021 by Will Davies, David Trumbull and Chloe Iliffe, Car Next Door operates a peer-to-peer car-sharing platform which offers convenient access to cars for renters, whilst providing revenue to car owners.

The service currently operates nationwide, with vehicles listed in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Cairns, Perth, Canberra, Adelaide, Hobart, Launceston and Newcastle.

“Uber is focused on offering Australians an easy, affordable, and convenient alternative to private car ownership. By adding Car Next Door to Uber’s suite of products, we’ll bolster our ability to do just that by giving Uber riders a reliable option for trips that are less suited to rideshare, such as running errands at the hardware store or a day trip away,” says Uber.

“The deal builds on Uber’s ongoing investments in electric vehicles, micromobility, and public transport to reduce over-reliance on the private vehicle and help achieve greener, more liveable cities.”

Post-acquisition, Car Next Door will report to Uber’s Australian team, but will otherwise operate independently, with its existing leadership remaining focused on expansion within the domestic market.

“This year marks 10 years since both Uber and Car Next Door launched in Australia. A lot has changed in that time but one thing has stayed constant: a shared vision that we need to make transport not just safe, convenient, and affordable - but also sustainable,” Uber Australia and New Zealand general manager Dom Taylor said.

“Over the last decade, Uber has created shared rides options like Uber Pool, invested $800 million globally to drive electric vehicle uptake, and integrated micromobility, and public transport options into the Uber app.

“What our app users haven’t had though, is the option for those mid-range and longer-distance trips. This deal will change that, and mean that the Uber platform can be a reliable and convenient alternative to the choice to own a car.”

Car Next Door CEO and co-founder Will Davies said the deal is an exciting opportunity to achieve the company’s mission of freeing people from the ‘one person per car’ mentality.

“By working with Uber we can scale up our ambitions and look to move Australians away from the over-reliance on the private car which is damaging our planet and making our cities less liveable,” Davies said.

“We know that many of our members are already combining carshare and rideshare with shared bikes and scooters, walking and public transport for a mobility mix that suits their lifestyle. We’re hearing from more and more people that they no longer feel the need to own a car, because getting transport on demand saves them money and hassle.

“In the 10 years since Uber and we launched in Australia, attitudes to car ownership have really started to shift. We see this deal as a big step towards making car-free or car-light living accessible to more people in more places and freeing up space for people, not parking.”

While Uber did not disclose the acquisition price, the Australian company was independently valued at up to $50 million back in 2018 when it raised $5 million from backers including Caltex and investment group Investible.

At that time, technology entrepreneur Steve Baxter increased his stake in the business, while other investors including Macquarie Group, Roger Allen, Hollard Insurance Company and Larix VC  joined the round too.

Since then Car Next Door secured $2 million from Hyundai in 2018, and a further $6.2 million from the Korean car manufacturer one year later.

It is also backed by Suncorp which took a strategic stake of $1.5 million in 2019 as part of a $10 million funding round for the car sharing company.

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