Enjoy the ride! — Heetch $12m Series A

Two weeks ago, Heetch announced a $12m Series A, a round we led with Alven and Via-ID, existing investors in the company.

Heetch launched late 2013 as a mobility solution for young people at night, especially between the underserved suburbs and city centres. In just a couple of years, they managed to build an emblematic ride sharing brand thanks to their friendly, festive and human approach. They had to tweak their model to fit the existing legal framework of the “sharing economy” and have now relaunched combining 2 great services, a short distance carpooling solution and a professional ride-healing services — the spirit and community remain while the ambition expands!

Today Heetch delivers more than 70,000 rides/week, a presence in 4 countries with 2 additional ones to open by year-end, 5,000 active drivers and 500,000 happy active customers.

We’re proud to have earn the founders’ trust and to come on board this exciting ride. Heetch’ Series A feels to us like the definition of a venture capital deal and touches upon some core values we love to see in companies we back:

A sense of Community : in line with some of our investments, such as LaRuche or Allplants in food, Goop in wellness or Business of Fashion, community is central to the founders’ vision. Respect and quality support, both to the drivers and the passengers, have been the team’s obsession since day 1. In a scary world where most drivers on other platforms have been commoditised as robots, people part of the Heetch community are equals: “my car is your car”, “let’s play some music, sing together, laugh together!” are just a few ingredients of a typical ride. Truth is, Heetch belongs to its users and as a result: massive customer love and fast organic growth — with marketing spent of $0.

A USP: in an increasingly crowded market, the vision has always been clear: to become the nightlife mobility partner of a young generation who needs it the most. First only opened on weekends, then also on weekdays, Heetch built an innovative ride sharing product & brand, and managed to grow fast by sorting out the burden of mobility at night, all while having fun!

Doing a lot with very little: This passionate team of 40 employees (fast growing as we speak) managed to build such a platform quasi bootstrapped. Heetch had only raised $1m before this round. In a sector where we keep on seeing jumbo round announcements every week, Heetch is emerging as a category leader in France, with a distinct offering with very attractive unit economics.

Resilieeeeeeeeeeence: The founders and their team have been on a mission for more than 4 years to upgrade a somehow dated legal framework and provide some structure for the sharing economy. The founders are always trying to innovate and bring suggestions to allow the system to evolve. On their original peer-to-peer platform, drivers were capped at €6,000 a year, which was in line with public data on average yearly vehicle amortisation. A smart move…unfortunately unheard yet. In Q4 2016, people raised their voices to avoid Heetch’ suspension (500,000 views):

Heetch dealt with a massive fine and rather than creating a social mess they launched the first ever digital protest! The result was: 200,000 participants, 20,000 tweets and more than 5,000 comments.

Most entrepreneurs would have stopped by now, but the guys are determined to continue their journey to serve anyone aspiring to have a nightlife, just at a bigger scale! :-) They recently relaunched with two new offers, including the very innovative, “La Base”, a ride sharing solution whereby the driver now determines the direction. Easier to say than to do, a lot of people have tried but failed. It’s early days yet but traction is definitely there, symbolising the uniqueness of Heetch: a mission-led founding team with a strong product & engineering DNA combined with the support of a loving community.

We are hopeful to have backed a future global champion in mobility…Until then, and as illustrated below: “Eat, Drink, Dance, Start again!”