Following the announcement of the closure of an angel round and a Series A round of financing of $20 million last month, car-sharing brand LIKE (立刻出行) announced earlier this month that it has closed a Series B round of financing. This round of financing was led by Ant Financial, followed by Legend Capital, K2VC, and BlueRun Ventures.
The startup plans to use the fresh funding in urban expansion, product R&D, vehicle deployment, and marketing. After the strategic investment in LIKE, Ant Financial will cooperate with the car-sharing company in user operation, credit system, financial innovation, payments and risk control.
The 2018 Annual Report on China’s Sharing Economy made by the State Information Center (SIC) points out that the financing scale of China’s sharing economy in 2017 was approximately 216 billion yuan, of which transportation accounted for 107.2 billion yuan.
LIKE was launched in Guangzhou in June 2017. It is mainly engaged in car leasing to offer medium- and short-distance travel in cities. The cars on offer include the popular Volkswagen, General Motors, Ford, and GAC models.
LIKE users can pick up and return the car at any time on an APP. Currently, LIKE is open to users in six cities: Guangzhou, Foshan, Wuhan, Chengdu, Nanjing, and Changsha.
According to LIKE, Guangzhou is its largest urban operation network, and the metropolitan area has nearly 1,000 locations where cars can be picked up and returned. 80% of the users in the downtown area can find a shared car within a radius of 500 meters. Currently, over 10,000 orders are placed daily in the city of Guangzhou.
According to LIKE, user data show that its car service, compared with taxi, can save users 50% of the cost of urban medium- and short-distance travel.
With respect to the industrial chain and financing, Ant Financial and LIKE will work with several car rental companies and financial leasing companies to carry out financial innovation to help car leasing companies expand their assets and improve their operating models.
LIKE said that it plans to open services in 20-25 cities across the country at the end of 2018 and that its fleet size will reach 40,000 units.
Many car manufacturers outside of China, including Daimler’s Car2go, BMW’s DriveNow, and Volkswagen’s Quicar, have tried shared travel. In January 2016, General Motors established a strategic alliance with Lyft and launched Maven, a car-sharing brand. In May 2016, Toyota announced it would invest in car-sharing service provider Uber.