Planet42a South Africa-based auto subscription company that buys used cars from dealers and rents them to customers through a subscription model has raised $100 million in equity and debt from a wide range of investors.
Naspers, through its early stage investment vehicle, Naspers foundry, along with ARS Holdings led the $15 million equity round (the SA-based investor also led Planet42’s previous $30 million round at the end of 2021). The equity round welcomed participation from existing and new shareholders, including Rivonia Road Capital; the Los Angeles-based global alternative asset manager extended a $75 million credit facility. Planet42 also received $10 million in debt financing from private investors.
According to the company, the new financing, consisting of equity, credit facility and debt, will rapidly scale its business and deliver one million cars worldwide to people excluded from traditional auto financing.
So far the mobility startup founded in Estonia that offers rent-to-buy car subscriptions bought more than 12,000 cars for its customers in South Africa and Mexico. Then co-founder and CEO Eric Oja spoke to ukbusinessupdates.com in a December 2021 interview, Planet42 claimed to have distributed more than 7,000 cars to customers in South Africa; according to a statement released by the company, it purchased more than 5,000 vehicles in the African country in the past 12 months. Also the six-year-old mobility startup started last year with an expansion drive to Mexico and has delivered 250 cars to customers there.
Planet42 says the expansion into Mexico is part of its strategy tackling transport inequalities on a global scale. Only half of the world’s urban population has adequate access to public transport, according to the UNand many of those excluded from access to reliable public transportation are salaried workers in emerging markets who, despite bank accounts and stable incomes, cannot obtain funding from traditional financial institutions to purchase their own vehicles.
In South Africa, According to the banks, 70% of vehicle financing applications are rejected Cars.co.za, Planet42 dealers, which have increased from 700 in 2021 to 1,000 dealers, report up to 90% rejection rates. Planet42 is one of a handful of start-ups, including Moove, Autochek and FlexClub, targeting the African market to address this disparity through various mobility offerings.
For Planet42, it uses proprietary scoring algorithms to assess risk in underbanked customer segments. And with its algorithms, customers can discover which budget suits them and choose new or used cars from Planet42’s dealer network. After that, Planet42 buys the car and rents it to the customer on a subscription basis. Planet42 claims that of all customers served to date, 89% would not have had any other way to access a personal vehicle. Dealers in Planet42’s South African network have reported an average sales increase of 26% since becoming partners, the company said in a statement.
“Safe and reliable transportation is an important driver for social and economic integration in emerging economies. It enables people to more easily access opportunities such as jobs, education and public services when public transport is often unreliable, excruciatingly slow, unsafe – and usually all of those things at once,” says Oja, who founded Planet42 with CFO Martin Orgna, a statement said. “We are here to make transport more accessible and are constantly working to make Planet42’s car subscription offering accessible to people who are unfairly ignored by banks.”
The company has raised more than $150 million in equity and debt from investors such as Naspers, Change Ventures, Startup Wise Guys, Martin Villig (Bolt), Ragnar Sass (Pipedrive) and Andrew Rolfe. It was certified CO2 neutral in 2021. According to Daniel Zinn, the founder and managing partner of Rivonia Road Capital Rolfe, one of Planet42’s newest investors, “Rivonia Road is pleased to partner with Planet42 in providing the capital needed to address this market inefficiency and help democratize access to mobility for thousands of underserved consumers around the world.