Sumitomo Corp. of Americas (SCOA) has announced its investment in Turo Inc. (Turo), an online car sharing marketplace headquartered in San Francisco, as part of its Series D round of funding. The strategic partnership and investment will not only provide the additional capital necessary to grow Turo, but SCOA will provide market insights for Turo’s eventual Japanese and APAC expansion.
This is the latest in a series of several “CASE” (connected, autonomous, sharing and electrified) technology-related investments from SCOA, which backed auto and fleet technology companies in 2017 such as Veritread, Transfix, Hyliion, Rivian, and most recently, ActiveScaler. Participation in these CASE technologies is a strategic step as the company realigns its business model to support the changing landscape of the automotive industry.
“Sumitomo has a great deal of experience in this space, having operated Sumitomo Mitsui Auto Service’s fleet platform, which is No. 1 in Japan,” said Sam Kato, executive officer, general manager of the Automobility Division, Sumitomo Corp. We believe Turo’s platform will be a game-changer for the future of auto ownership and utilization, and we look forward to using our unique insight into the Asian marketplace to expand this offering.”
Shane Wakasugi, senior vice president and general manager of the Automotive Group at Sumitomo Corp. of Americas added, “SCOA’s vast business portfolio including automotive retail, paired with its client network in North America, shall provide opportunity for potential new business synergies and partnerships with Turo.”
Sumitomo is currently focused on investing within three major sectors of the automotive industry: trucking, sharing services and electrification. Through its carefully selected investments, such as Turo, Sumitomo plans to pair new technology and business models with its existing portfolio and established networks. By doing this, it is the company’s intent to create new business lines that will be successful in the new, evolving automotive landscape.
Founded in 2009, Turo is a car sharing marketplace where travelers can rent any car they want, wherever they want it, from a vibrant community of local car owners. Travelers choose from a totally unique selection of nearby cars that cost on average about 35 percent less than traditional car rental agencies, while car owners earn extra money and help fuel their adventures.
“We are thrilled to welcome Sumitomo Corp. as a strategic investor in Turo. Their insights into travel and international markets will be instrumental in helping us put the world’s one billion cars to better use,” said Turo CEO, Andre Haddad. “It is only fitting that we announce not only our new strategic investors, but also the official launch of our Commercial Hosts program. The combination of these two initiatives will broaden Turo’s international reach and position us clearly as a leader in the global travel industry.”
To date, Turo is currently available in 5,500 cities and at 500 airports. There are more than 900 makes and models of cars available to users, and the average car owner utilizing Turo’s platform makes an average of $625 per month. Through its insurance partner, Liberty Mutual, Turo insures owners up to $1 million per trip.