Wales-based Finalrentals has closed a six-figure sum provided by four business angels and London VC Fuel Ventures, and matched by the Welsh national angel co-investment fund run by Development Bank of Wales.
Finalrentals is the brainchild of Pakistan-born Ammar Akhtar, who arrived in Wales sponsored by a UK innovator and entrepreneurs visa.
Akhtar says car rental globally has been slow to succeed at e-commerce. Most auto rental storefronts are small businesses with deep, local connections that can't be replicated. Yet many haven't found time to digitise, or if they have they find themselves being drowned out by larger competitors, SEO, countless online-only workloads.
"Over half of the global car rental industry is made up of local car rental companies who are great at customer service but know little about eCommerce." Akhtar said.
The Finalrentals car rental marketplace caters to this knowledge gap. Already, it's attracted custom from beyond Europe. Akhtar initially targeted UAE rental storefronts, and following expansion Finalrentals' also has US and Canadian clients.
Eamon Tuhami, who led the angel consortium and also founded Welsh VC Hwyl.Ventures, commented: "I was surprised to learn that 52% of the world’s car rental companies are small businesses who struggle to take and make orders online.
"Ammar and his team have built an innovative platform which has global reach and is already making a difference.
"It’s been a pleasure to connect him into the ecosystem, see him part of the FinTech Wales Foundry program and introduce him to other angels and funds. I warmly welcome him and his family to Wales and believe that this is just the beginning of something very exciting.”
Finalrentals operates out of the Welsh town of Penarth, a bay-side suburb of the capital city Cardiff. The summer time resort doubles as an emerging location for Welsh tech innovation, thanks to available work space along its esplanade.