It has yet to be revealed why FlightCar is closing down operations, or how much it is selling the technology to Mercedes-Benz for, but we do know that FlightCar raised $40 million and was backed by some real big names. The FlightCar service was intended to allow drivers who were flying out of town to rent their vehicle out while they were away, presumably to people who had flown into town.
It was a novel idea that saved money on parking, and we are excited to see what Mercedes plans to do with this technology. Although if I were to have a stranger drive my Mercedes while I was out of town I’d consider having my interior replaced.
FlightCar raised $40 million to solve airport parking with an Airbnb-like sharing model: let a stranger drive your car while you’re away on a trip and in return avoid parking fees and even make a few bucks. Travelers will have to find a new solution.
On Thursday afternoon, the San Francisco-based FlightCar will announce that, effective immediately, it is closing operations at all 12 of its airport stations around the U.S. and has sold its technology platform to Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, where it will become part of Mercedes’ innovation lab for mobility services.
The price Mercedes-Benz paid for the four-year-old startup is unknown at this time, but FlightCar’s last financing, a $20 million Series B in September 2015, gave it a $100 million post-money valuation according to venture capital data firm Pitchbook. Some of FlightCar’s more than 90 current employees plan to join Mercedes-Benz, including 21-year-old cofounder and CEO Rujul Zaparde. Continue Reading