IAG, Seven West Media back car subscription service Carbar in $28.9m raise

IAG, Seven West Media back car subscription service Carbar in $28.9m raise

Carbar CEO and co-founder Des Hang

Melbourne-based car subscription company Carbar has completed a $28.9 million funding round, as it looks to ramp up its fleet of electric vehicles (EVs) and marketing efforts in a bid to change the face of Australian automotive usage.

Led by Insurance Australia Group (ASX: IAG) and Seven West Media (ASX: SWM), the capital injection will bolster the company’s marketing strategy, as well as expand technology and partnership capabilities.

The investment round follows a year of new commercial partnerships for the company, which manages EV subscription programs for energy providers AGL (ASX: AGL) and Aurora, as well as sonnenDrive, an initiative from global battery giant Sonnen.

“This round will help us expedite growth in the business and make Carbar a household name. While we are thrilled with our growth to date, we realise that our current round of car subscribers are really early adopters,” Carbar co-founder and CEO Des Hang said.

“Given the experience overseas - in less car obsessed markets - we know that with the right push, this trend of subscription can compete with and rival car ownership. We’ll be leading the charge on this for the entire car subscription industry.

“We also believe Carbar will play an instrumental role in the adoption of EVs across Australia as there are few solutions out there helping make these cars more accessible and easier to afford. The global rise of EVs is an inflection point for the auto industry. We want to be a global brand before this trend is fully realised, and in order to do that we need to further accelerate our growth.”

Founded in 2016, the Software-as-a-Service subscription (SaaS) platform allows individuals to browse new and used vehicles in an online library, which charges weekly fees once a vehicle is selected.  

While exact subscriber numbers are undisclosed, the company has seen active subscribers rise by more than 2000 per cent since its last capital raise in July 2019 - which raised $16.8 million with the support of majority stakeholder IAG.

“Carbar’s world-class digital capabilities have also provided us with the opportunity to evolve with the mobility needs of our customers, who, in the unfortunate event their vehicle is a total loss after an accident, can now source a new or used vehicle through Carbar and have it delivered,” IAG Group executive direct insurance Australia Julie Batch said.

Carbar has joined the Electric Vehicle Council and has also established an ABS facility aimed at funding the expansion of its EVs fleet from 5 per cent to 25 per cent in the coming years.

“Carbar already holds a unique position in Australia’s evolving auto industry. It’s a compelling consumer offering that, with the right push, has the ability to totally change the way we perceive EVs in Australia,” Seven West Media head of Seven West Ventures Alan Stuart said.

“By working closely with Carbar, we aim to accelerate its growth and help more Australians realise the value in car subscriptions and EV technology.”

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