By-the-minute car rental startup Udrive raises $5 million


Dubai-based Udrive, a startup that allows customers to rent cars by the minute, has raised $5 million to grow its business.

Funding comes from Dubai Cultiv8 Investments, an investment arm of the government, and Oman Holdings International (OHI).

Founded in 2017, Udrive says it has seen strong growth in 2021, with two million trips to date, making it one of the largest car transaction booking platforms in the Middle East and Africa region.

Customers can book a ride in the Udrive app or on its website, find a suitable car nearby, and drive away, with gas, insurance, and most parking fees included in the reservation. Cars can be rented by the minute or by the day and returned in the same city to any parking lot.

“Mobility technology is one of the main investment sectors our technology fund focuses on, and UDrive is a perfect fit with the fund’s guidelines and the fund manager’s ambitions,” says Arif Alai, CEO of Cultiv8.

“With the newly formed Board of Directors and management team, we are excited for Udrive’s continued triple-digit growth in the MENAT region in 2022.”

OHI owns car rental company Budget Oman and is expected to use its knowledge of the mobility space to help Udrive meet its growth targets.

“We can expect to see sweeping changes in the way cars will be used both globally and regionally,” said Eihab Saleh, Director and CEO of OHI.

“With the vision to drive this change, Udrive presented its well-articulated plan to successfully enter a new market, which facilitated our decision to invest in Udrive. We believe their product roadmap is set to dramatically change the way cars are “consumed” and used in the MENAT region. »

Along with expanding its fleet and markets, Udrive says it will use the capital to invest in new technology, such as creating an automated system that determines where a car is parked and pays the corresponding meter charges.

“We are digitizing mobility by making it easily accessible to everyone. The recently secured funding will help us invest in new technologies as well as expand our offerings in the region this year. We want to provide this service to anyone who can drive, and the reality is that customer demand is rapidly changing from buy-and-own to on-demand and subscribe,” says Nicolas Watson, co-founder and CEO of Udrive.

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