European car rental comparison startup — or self-styled metasearch engine — Happycar has raised a new $1.58 million round of funding. Notable backers include Global Founders Capital, the venture arm of German startup factory and e-commerce behometh Rocket Internet. Unusually, however, GFC isn’t leading the round.
That honour goes to Capnamic Ventures, with participation from HR Ventures (Venture Capital firm of the Hahn Air Group), Swoodoo founder Wolfgang Heigl, George Hadjigeorgiou (HouseTrip CEO), Teodoro D’Ambrosio (former Bravofly, now Hotelscan CEO) and Dreamlines founder Felix Schneider. It brings total funding for the Hamburg, Germany-based startup to approximately $3.2 million since it was founded in 2013.
Operating dedicated sites for Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Poland and the Netherlands, but targeting car rentals worldwide, Happycar is a typical metasearch engine play. It partners with over 250 international and local car rental companies to let you search and compare offers in order to find the best price. In addition to price, you can also filter results by type of car and insurance packages.
“Instead of having to scan various car rental providers’ websites to find the best price and offer, Happycar enables customers to compare various offers from car rental providers on one platform with a comprehensive and transparent overview,” Alexander Wessels, Managing Partner of Happycar, tells TechCrunch.
“As a metasearch engine Happycar offers customers an extended transparency of offers showing insurance packages, kilometer fees and one-way fees, among many others. By providing an easy, user-friendly booking process and a free customer service hotline in case any questions arise, we ensure that our customers can enjoy a hassle free rental car trip. To conclude, customers benefit from HAPPYCAR by saving time and money.”
Wessels says Happycar’s customers span both business and leisure travelers. “We have two main types of customers,” he says. “One is the business traveler who typically rents a car from the airport or the main train station and drops it off after 2-3 days. The other is the leisure traveler who wants to have the flexibility that a car provides during his/her vacation. This customer typically picks up the car at the local airport at his/her travel destination and keeps it one week, ten days or even two weeks.”
Meanwhile, as with every other price comparison site or metasearch engine, Happycar takes a commission on every booking made via its site. Wessels cites competitors as any company offering car rentals but points out that many of those same companies are partners too.
“In the end, we are competing with other companies that offer a rental car service directly or indirectly to an end-customer. However, in this business environment it is not a direct competition as these companies are mostly close partners of Happycar as we are showing their rental car offers on our website and help them to generate additional revenue,” he says.