UK energy startup Zebra Fuel has raised $2.5 million for its on-demand fuel delivery service, led by LocalGlobe with participation from Firstminute Capital and Zoopla founder Alex Chesterman.
Zebra Fuel is an app for ordering a delivery of diesel to the car regardless of location, it is currently operating in London and has 3,000 customers. According to cofounders Reda Bennis and Romain Saint Guilhem, this reduces the need for physical petrol stations, which, in urban locations, pay massive rents. The startup is planning to add petrol, eco-friendly diesel, and electric charging in the future.
“We can also do fuel deliveries through the night, so customers can wake up to a full car outside their house or a depot of fully-fuelled vehicles and not have to waste their own precious time,” said Bennis. “Ultimately, our goal is to replace the petrol station and in doing so make filling up your car faster, cheaper, less harmful to the environment, and hassle-free.”
Zebra sources its fuel from the same sources as petrol stations and is distributed by their own vans. Its drivers are certified, insured, and employed full-time, unlike the typical gig economy model used by most on-demand services. It currently has 15 vans in operation and is aiming for 40 by the end of the year.
The new funds will be invested in more drivers and launching its service in Paris where it will face competition from Paris-based TankYou. Within the next two years, it plans to be operating in four European capital cities.
“With 2.1 million cars in London alone, the size of the market opportunity for Zebra Fuel is considerable,” commented Brent Hoberman, executive chairman of Firstminute Capital. “At the moment drivers have no choice: they have to go to a petrol station to refill their car. But faced with the option of a far easier, quicker and cheaper alternative, how many will break the habit of a lifetime and switch to Zebra?”