Splend CEO on why the vehicle rental startup is looking for opportunities beyond Uber
Written on the 15 January 2018 by Ben Hall
SPLEND, Australia's largest share economy vehicle network and an Uber preferred partner, has secured a strategic investment from Element Fleet Management (TSX: EFN) to support the next phase of its global expansion plans.
"We have recently launched into Mexico City, and London. In these cities there is an undersupply of vehicles for people that want to drive for Uber and do not want to or are unable to access traditional financing facilities."
From our review of these cities we believe that the Splend model will provide strong value to people that want to access the sharing economy and earn an income driving on platforms like Uber. The deal with Element Fleet Management will enable Splend to acquire a significant share of the multi billion dollar global share vehicle market, with a target of having more than 15,000 vehicles worldwide by late 2019. Splend is also negotiating with major OEMs to facilitate a global fleet deal.
I was fortunate enough to be able to self-fund the business, and this funding enabled us to scale up to a point where we raised external funds from Investec in late 2016 and then Element more recently.
Splend provides innovative financial solutions to enter the on-demand economy by delivering 'current model', fuel efficient, fully maintained, safe, comfortable vehicles. Most importantly, Splend also provides mentoring, training and ongoing support via a direct relationship between member-drivers and a Splend Member Success Representative (MSR). The core focus of the MSR is to ensure the member-driver is successful and that they are a dynamic micro-business owner, developing a diversified income portfolio. We see the MSR as being there to ensure all of our drivers are as safe, happy and profitable as possible.
Can you tell us anything about your discussions with an online retailer about deliveries?
"The sharing economy is here to stay and will only grow into new areas. According to new research from RateSetter, over two thirds of Australians now spend and earn money through the sharing economy."
The market for peer-to-peer services, for example, is projected to grow to a whopping $55 billion by 2021 nearly a fourfold increase in five years. More than a third (38 per cent) of Australians now spend at least $50 a month on P2P goods or services, while nearly a quarter (22 per cent) are earning the same amount each month. Splend's purpose is to support our Member-drivers to create a full-time employment opportunity in the sharing economy. We see it as our role to support them to increase their earnings by working across a range of different on-demand providers in this space.
"We believe that getting your core business model right and stress testing it to ensure it can scale is very important for future success. Make sure you have the right expertise and people on board to support your scale up."
At a small seed-stage business, we were able to be a lot more hands on with the business at an executive level. Making sure we have the right people on board to manage the business day in day out will allow the business to move to working on the business to facilitate further opportunities for growth.
Business News Australia
Author: Ben Hall