German automaker Audi has just led a $28 million round of Series C investment in rental company Silvercar. The company allows you to rent cars via a smartphone app, but there’s a catch.
You can rent any car you want with the Silvercar app, as long as it’s a silver Audi sedan. Specifically, the startup maintains a fleet of Audi A4 sport-luxury sedans. Audi was at the forefront of the most recent round of investing in the company as the automaker and startup strengthened its ties. Silvercar also put Audi North America president Scott Keogh on its board of directors.
Silvercar was started with the goal of easing the rental car process. Rather than making an online reservation, and then filling out seemingly miles of paperwork, users reserve a car through a smartphone app. Rentals usually go for anywhere between $59 an $89 per day.
Users of the service make a reservation, and then scan the QR code on the desired car’s windshield to check it out. Billing is handled on the smartphone. The company currently only rents out Audi A4 sedans (in silver), which starts at $35,900. The recent round of investment should guarantee that a wider selection of Audis are purchases– most likely in silver.
According to Fortune, the recent round of investing brings Silvercar’s funding to a total of $60 million. Currently, the service is available at 12 airports in North America, including LAX, Miami International Airport, and Chicago’s O’Hare. The company announced this week that the service will be expanded to Las Vegas, and that both Silvercar and Audi are partnering on a system called Audi Shared Fleet, which is a way to “provide app-powered rental car services to corporate campuses.”
Much like Ford partnering with Google, or Lyft partnering with General Motors, it is just another example of the ways that automakers are embracing changes in the industry rather than fighting them.