Berlin Startup Vay has developed technology whereby customers’ rental cars can be driven by remote control. There are 84 million euros from major investors for this.
Money for the future of mobility: Startup Vay has raised the equivalent of €84 million ($95 million) in a current funding round. Kinnevik, a former major shareholder in Rocket Internet and Zalando, New York hedge fund Coatue — shareholders of Gorillas — and French private equity firm Eurazeo are investing in the self-driving service. Many legacy investors also participate in Series B. This is Atomico’s money for Skype founder Niklas Zennström, VCs La Famiglia, Creandum, Project A, Visionaries Club and Signals Ventures in Berlin.
“We are not a taxi service”
Vay has been in an independent rental service since 2018. Fabrizio Chelsea, Thomas von der Ohe and Bogdan Djukic remained in stealth mode until September. They quietly tested their service in Berlin for two years. Users connect to a rental car via the app, which is taken to the agreed meeting point without a driver. At Vay’s headquarters there are employees who maneuver vehicles through traffic by remote control and with the help of cameras if the road is too complex and confusing – using a simulated cockpit like a computer game. “We are not a taxi service,” CEO von der Ohe confirmed to Gründerszene. Vay calls this technique dial-up.
As soon as the user takes the wheel, the employees at HQ withdraw. When the user has finished his tour, he does not have to stop the car, but can park it in front of the door. Then startup takes over the remote control again. The idea behind this is that more people are dispensing with the private car. Vay is said to be cheaper than Uber. The startup doesn’t want to say how much the trip should ultimately cost.
Next year, Vay plans to put its first cars on the road for customers. The company still needs approval. First of all, it starts in Hamburg, with a double count of electric cars, according to the company. This will be followed by other cities in Europe and the United States. The startup already lists Berlin and Portland on its website.