Smedvig Capital has invested £6.4 million (€9.4 million; $12.6 million) in Streetcar, a UK-based car club, as the company looks to boost membership ahead of a possible flotation late next year.
Smedvig is buying a 50 percent stake in the market leading pay-as-you-go car club, making it the largest shareholder alongside the company’s founders.
Streetcar, which allows members to book a hire car 30 minutes prior to use, currently operates in London, Southampton and Brighton, with an 85 percent market share in the capital and 10,000 members nationwide.
Andrew Valentine, co-founder of Streetcar, said: “Our membership has tripled in the last year and we intend to use this investment to do the same next year. We are considering floating the company in the next 18 to 24 months.”
Smedvig has previously invested in other transport-related companies, including ITIS Holdings, a provider of traffic data, and the car-leasing firm Tusker Direct.
It plans to play an active role in the running of Streetcar, and is also set to appoint an “high-profile” chairman in the next few weeks.
Car pooling is being marketed as an environmentally friendly, cost efficient alternative to car ownership. The company has aggressive growth plans and it intends to substantially increase the number of locations in which it operates.
Johnny Hewett, chief executive of Smedvig, said: “In addition to the very considerable convenience and economic benefits it provides to its members, it provides obvious environmental and congestion benefits at a time when we are all increasingly aware of the need to act on those issues.”