Harbottle & Lewis advises PROfounders Capital on easyCar "Car Club" project

6 January 2012

Venture capital firm, PROfounders Capital, has joined forces with easyCar to introduce the Car Club to the UK in 2012. Harbottle & Lewis advised PROfounders Capital on the legal aspects of the project.

The Car Club is based on the Peer to Peer (P2P) or "collaborative consumption" model, which is becoming a popular way for communities to share and better utilise assets, such as cars and homes. Car owners benefit by earning cash for their cars when they are not using them and car renters have a cheaper and more convenient alternative to hiring from a conventional car rental company.

The Car Club will operate alongside the car rental brokerage of easyCar.com. Customers can then choose which service most suits their needs. At launch, the Car Club will create a community of owners who will be able to set the price of their car and its availability to suit their usage requirements, and hirers who will be able to use smartphone apps to book a car that fits their needs and locality. Cars registered on the database will be insured by The Car Club during use and will be fitted with an automated car entry and tracker system, meaning owners don't have to be at their cars to rent them out, but can feel secure that their car is in safe hands.

PROfounders Capital's investment in easyCar brings a network of entrepreneurial talents that complements those at easyGroup. Following the investment, Brent Hoberman and Rogan Angelini-Hurll, General Partner at PROfounders, are joining the board of easyCar.

Commenting on the new venture, easyCar founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, said: "I am very excited to be partnering with some great entrepreneurial minds in order to develop what could be the future of car rental and car ownership in the cities of the future. Rather than having to buy the cars to be rented and pay the ownership costs, this business model relies on the fact that there are plenty of underused cars on the road already and that is lazy capital that can be put to work again!"

PROfounders Investment Partner and lastminute.com founder, Brent Hoberman, added: "The Car Club is a compelling customer proposition that will leverage the power of smartphones to enable consumers to save money and save time. Car owners make money wherever they are and car renters find cheaper, more local car rental alternatives. This business will benefit the environment and people's pockets - it's the right moment to launch this in 2012."

The Car Club will also help the environment with car sharing estimated to get up to 10 cars off the road for each car that a car owner contributes to the club and reduce personal car emissions by over 40 per cent.

Tony Littner, Head of the firm's Venture Capital Group advised PROfounders Capital on the project with support from Charlie Leveque, Senior Associate from the Venture Capital Group. Mark Owen and Adam Mitton, Partners from the firm's Intellectual Property practice, advised in relation to IP matters.