Wicklow start-up Fleet surpasses crowdfunding goal

Fleet App, a Wicklow-based peer-to-peer car rental startup valued at €1.1 million, has successfully raised €275,000 on Ireland’s first crowdsourced equity investment platform, Spark Crowdfunding. It follows a surge in investment as the campaign draws to a close.

The company, founded by local businessman Maurice Sheehy, has now decided to overfund – opening up the possibility of further investment before the round closes on Friday, September 15th.

Modelled on the success of household names in the sharing economy like Uber and Airbnb, Fleet App (www.jointhefleet.com) is seeking to re-shape car ownership in Ireland.

In June 2017, it partnered with AXA Ireland and launched the first Irish car-sharing platform for local owners, bidding to aggressively disrupt the motor industry. Users can add their cars to the app, making them available for rental to other users, effectively monetising cars when they are not in use a new way for to access transportation locally.

Fleet App CEO Maurice Sheehy says that his app is already changing the concept of car ownership. “The success of our crowdfunding campaign shows that people are buying in wholesale: you no longer need to own a car to use one. And for those that aren’t quite ready to ditch the car yet but are struggling to afford it: you can help pay down its running cost by renting it on Fleet.”

“We couldn’t be more happy with how our crowdfund has gone. Over 80 investors have now backed us, showing that there is widespread support for our product in the business community in Ireland.”

The campaign is being run through Spark Crowdfunding (www.sparkcrowdfunding.com), a new Irish equity crowdfunding platform which launched during the summer.

Chris Burge, CEO of Spark, says: “The Fleet business model and technology is highly scalable and we know this is the type of business that appeals to investors. Fleet own their own platform and we believe the company is well positioned to benefit from strong market fundamentals in the growing sharing economy and peer-to-peer marketplace.”

Fleet has been approved for matched funding from Enterprise Ireland, and investors are eligible for the Employment and Investment Incentive Scheme (EIIS), which provides income tax relief of up to 40% on investment. Previously, Irish companies were limited to using UK and other European equity crowdfunding websites – which prevented Irish investors from benefiting from domestic investment incentives.

Fleet joins a growing list of tech startups who have used crowdfunding to raise early investment. Revolut, a mobile banking app, raised £1 million in 2016, and later went on to achieve a €1.4 billion valuation in April of this year.

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