Splend, Australia’s leading supplier of rental vehicles for the ride sharing drivers, has secured a $7.2 million investment from Element Fleet Management, positioning it realise the next phase of its global expansion plans.
In exchange for the strategic investment, Element has secured a 12.5% stake in the two-year-old business, which previously received funding from Investec Australia in December 2016.
Splend founder and CEO Chris King said Element’s investment in his startup will enable immediate launches in Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom, resulting in a new and growing source of revenue.
Splend and Element have an existing business relationship with Element providing a host of fleet management services to Splend and its drivers in Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand.
Splend currently owns and manages more than 1,700 vehicles, operating in Australia’s major cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Canberra, with additional vehicles recently launched in Toronto, Mexico City, and London.
King said the Element investment will help Splend achieve its target of more than 15,000 vehicles, worth $220 million, under management worldwide by late 2019.
“Our relationship with Element is a true partnership, and with their support we feel very confident in taking our business model global,” he said.
Jim Halliday, president & CEO – International, Element Fleet Management has joined Splend’s board of directors. Halliday said Splend is aligned with its vision of bringing more effective, cost-effective car-sharing services to cities.
“We are extremely pleased to work with Splend to service the future of share economy vehicle networks,” he said. “Splend is creating opportunity for drivers around the world to earn a living in the emerging ‘gig economy’, and Element’s services will help Splend and the drivers it serves be safer, smarter and more productive.”
Splend’s international expansion saw Chris King relocate to London in August 2017 to be closer to Splend’s new major markets. Mr King’s move paved the way for Nathan Halliday to be promoted from Splend COO to Head of Country – Australia.
Originally established to supply Uber drivers with vehicles, Splend has broadened its driver networks through partnerships with other share economy services and is in discussions with a significant global online retailer to facilitate drivers delivering parcels in major markets.
“Since launching in July 2015, we have opened up new employment avenues for gig economy workers who need access to an affordable vehicle solution,” King said. “We provide a complete service, including training and support, to the growing number of people who earn an income driving.”