BMW i Ventures is BMW’s venture capital fund, investing in startups in the fields of autonomous driving, digital car and automotive cloud, e-mobility, artificial Intelligence and data, and industry 4.0.
Fair, an app based in California that provides a fully digital end-to-end way to get a car with the flexibility to return it anytime, has closed a strategic funding round led by BMW i Ventures that includes investments from Penske Automotive Group and other strategic investors. Fair’s innovative offering allows customers to shop for a car they want and can afford based on a pre-qualified monthly payment range tailored to their budget, and includes the flexibility to walk away at any time.
BMW i Ventures is BMW’s venture capital fund, investing money and resources in startups in the fields of autonomous driving, digital car and automotive cloud, e-mobility, artificial Intelligence and data, industry 4.0, shared and on-demand mobility, customer digital life, and energy services.
Fair also announced that it has secured offers for nearly $1 billion in dedicated capital from a group of institutional investment banks that traditionally back auto debt portfolios, and from an entity led by Sherpa Capital that is being set up to strategically fund innovative transportation models like flexible ownership and ride-sharing.
Led by entrepreneur Scott Painter (TrueCar, CarsDirect.com) and global automotive leader Georg Bauer (Mercedes, BMW, Tesla), Fair is bringing the all-digital transaction into the auto space the same way it’s become standard in other industries. Fair frees consumers from the long term commitment and higher cost of traditional ownership. Customers can get approved for a car with a driver’s license and bank account, sign for it with their finger, and pick it up without any physical paperwork.
“It’s clear that technology is transforming how we buy and own our cars, and the consumer is the winner – with simpler, more flexible, and more cost effective options than ever before,” said Scott Painter, founder and CEO of Fair. “Fair is on the forefront of making personal mobility more accessible for a new generation of customers.”
Fair represents a strategic investment opportunity for manufacturers like BMW, because its technology driven flexible ownership solution benefits dealers like Penske Automotive Group and customers alike.
“Fair offers a completely new customer experience,” said Ulrich Quay, BMW i Ventures, managing director. “The company allows users to access vehicles without a fixed term. This appeals in particular to younger generations who want more flexible usage models.”
Painter said the Fair model relies on dealers as ongoing operational partners, which is why it made sense as an investment for Penske. He said Penske’s physical infrastructure will serve as a foundation to enable Fair’s flexible model.
“Penske is committed to be on the leading edge of technology, and our investment with Fair reflects that commitment,” said Penske President Robert Kurnick. “The potential appeal of the Fair app to consumers is compelling while keeping our company at the forefront of bringing mobility solutions to the marketplace.”
“In addition to Fair’s obvious benefit for customers, we believe our app will be a critical tool for dealers handling the rising flow of high quality lease returns we expect over the next several years,” said President of Fair, Georg Bauer. “Enabling this process with digital capabilities creates an amazing opportunity for consumers, and helps build brand loyalty for automotive brands.”
Fair plans to grow its presence from Los Angeles to the rest of California by the end of 2017, and to other select markets nationwide through 2018.
Courtesy of BW BWDISRUPT