Karhoo, an on-demand app that provided users with an aggregation of ride options from fleets of car services that failed to take off, is reportedly getting a new life under new backers.
According to a report by TechCrunch, the service is being relaunched by Boris Pilichowski and Nicolas Andine as co-CEOs. The company now has the full financial backing of RCI Bank and Services, which is the financial services unit of Renault and Nissan. The two co-CEOs had been running the startup before it went bankrupt, having taken over management from Karhoo’s founder, Daniel Ishag. The relaunched app will be available at some point in 2017, noted the report.
A source provided TechCrunch with a document that claims Karhoo was acquired by a group dubbed Flit Technologies that is being led by two former Karhoo employees. RCI Bank and Services is reportedly providing $1 million plus a commitment of $15 million in further investments. The administrators had received bids from anywhere from 30–40 interested parties for Karhoo, noted the report.
Renault’s investment in Karhoo comes at a time when automotive companies are making investments in the world of on-demand transportation companies that are changing the way people travel. The car companies are motivated partly to protect their positions in the industry but also because they recognize automotive ownership and driving are changing.
“In 2016, we formed a range of partnerships to support our development strategy on auto-mobility services and solutions for our customers,” said Gianluca De Ficchy, CEO of RCI Bank and Services, in a statement to TechCrunch. “The acquisition of the startup Karhoo appeared as a sudden opportunity that we did not want to miss, and the acquisition was completed rapidly. We have met the highly motivated teams, and I have every confidence in Karhoo’s business model; it is innovative and underpinned by a first-class technological platform. We will also be able to capitalize on this platform as part of our activities for the Alliance brands.”