Established back in 2015, Ekar allows consumers to rent vehicles per minute, hour, or day through its mobile app in the UAE and now it has expanded into Saudi Arabia as well. Consumers can download the app, register onto the platform with a valid driver's license and credit card.
After a consumer has signed up they can search through nearby cars through the app and reserve one for minutes, days, weeks, or even monthly. Consumers unlock the car through the app.
The cars in Abu Dhabi and Dubai start at around $0.16 per minute. The vehicles contain free fuel and consumers can fill the tanks back up at partnered gas stations.
Ekar claims that the company currently facilitates around 50,000 bookings every month within the UAE and has around 1,000 vehicles currently in its fleet.
Ekar's CEO and Co-Founder, Vilhelm Hedberg, spoke about the recent funds saying, “We are delighted to have a select group of strategic investors who are aligned with Ekar’s passion to provide cost-effective mobility across emerging markets. Ekar’s in-house tech team now has the fuel to scale Ekar across MENAT.”
Managing Director from Polymath Ventures, Ali Hashemi, stated, “We believe smart systems and shared transport platforms like Ekar are the future for sustainable mobility especially in cities with densely populated environments such as Riyadh. We invest with conviction where teams are driving innovation to solve tomorrow’s problems today, and we look forward to helping Ekar succeed.”
EXPANDING TO SAUDI
The company also recently announced that it has expanded into Saudi Arabia after it launched in Riyadh. This was the first international market expansion for Ekar and it started up with 600 vehicles and plans to expand into other Saudi Arabian cities including Jeddah, Mecca, Medina, Rabigh, and Dammam.
Ekar teamed with Tamm, a vehicle information company, and Yakeen, a digital verification company, to help approve users within Saudi Arabia be quickly approved onto the platform.
Prices of auto rentals will be from $0.11 to $0.20 per minute.
As the company moves into Saudi Arabia they won't be alone. Idrive is a local company that launched operations last year and already has a significant start.
Vilhelm Hedberg, Co-Founder, and CEO of Ekar spoke about the Saudi expansion, said, “We are excited to announce the launch of Ekar Riyadh and are eager to improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of Saudi residents and tourists alike with Ekar’s seamless carshare service. Today, Ekar UAE services 50,000 bookings per month, a number which we expect to quadruple over the next twelve months as we launch services across cities in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. We have 1,000 Ekars in our fleet and over 75,000 members and envision surpassing 10,000 Ekars and over a million members by 2021.”
This indicates that Ekar has recognized how important the young market within Saudi Arabia could be with around 20 million smartphone users.