New investor Quona Capital and existing investors Monashees, Maya Capital, Accel partner Kevin Efrusy, Y Combinator, Broadhaven Ventures, Tinder founder Justin Mateen and ONEVC also participated in the financing, which brings Kovi’s total raised since its inception to $40.6 million.
Founded in 2018 by two former 99 (Brazil’s first tech unicorn) executives, São Paulo-based Kovi rents vehicles to on-demand drivers who work for ride-hailing companies such as Uber, Didi and Lyft. It operates under the premise that more people in Latin America would work for these companies if they could afford to operate the necessary vehicle. Less than half the population in Brazil own a car. Also, cars are significantly more expensive in countries like Brazil than in the U.S. and the difference is even greater when it comes to the average income of the population. Kovi gives drivers who don’t necessarily want, or cannot afford, to own a vehicle “quick access to quality cars” at what it says is “a fair price”
Using machine learning, Kovi says it’s able to monitor vehicles and drivers in real time, “ensuring safety and performance in the use of cars, as well as driver welfare.”
Also, via its model, drivers don’t have to worry about damage or theft to vehicles since they don’t have “to buy and leave expensive shared cars parked on the street,” the company says. (High car crime rates are prevalent across parts of Latin America).
Kovi currently has about 110 employees (up from about 20 a year ago) and more than 3,000 active cars in its fleet. It currently operates in São Paulo, Porto Alegre and Mexico City, and recently opened an office in Mexico.
Read more here