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Estonian FinTech startup Planet42 secures $100M to scale affordable transportation

Estonian car subscription startup Planet42 raises $100M to address transport inequality by putting cars in the hands of people who are underserved by traditional banking.

Estonian FinTech Planet42 has secured $100M (€94M) in a combined equity and debt funding round, including a $15M equity round co-led by Naspers and ARS Holdings. The funding enables the car subscription startup rapidly scale its business and meet its global expansion plans after its initial success in South Africa.

Founded in Estonia in 2017 by Eerik Oja and Marten Orgna, Planet42 provides a socially inclusive model that offers rent-to-buy car subscriptions. The startup uses proprietary scoring algorithms and data science to assess a customer’s risk level and generate an offer to acquire a car from a car dealership of their choice. This model provides people who are underserved by traditional banking institutions with a path to vehicle ownership.

“Safe and reliable transport is a key driver of social and economic inclusion in emerging economies. It enables people to access opportunities like jobs, education and public services more easily when public transport is often unreliable, painfully slow, unsafe – and usually all those things at once,” said Eerik Oja, co-founder and CEO of Planet42.

 Planet42’s team

Driving toward an inclusive future

The startup has already made a significant impact in South Africa, where nearly 1,000 dealerships have been added to the Planet42 network, and dealers have reported an average increase in sales of 26% since becoming partners. It has recently launched in Mexico, a country with similar transport inequality challenges, and has already delivered over 250 cars to customers.

“Planet42’s team has displayed remarkable execution, with a proven innovative, cash-generating, and globally scalable model,” said Andrew Rolfe, General Partner at ARS Holdings, who joins Planet42 as a member of its supervisory board.

The UN reports that only half the world’s urban population has adequate access to public transportation. Many of those excluded from access to reliable public transport are wage-earning workers in emerging markets who, despite having bank accounts and stable incomes, are unable to get financing from traditional financial institutions to buy vehicles of their own. This impacts their ability to access economic opportunities while increasing personal safety risks and perpetuating structural inequality.

Through its innovative subscription model, Planet42 is working to democratise access to mobility for thousands of underserved consumers worldwide.

In total, the startup has already raised $150 million in combined equity and debt funding from investors such as Naspers, and Estonian funds and angels, such as Change Ventures, Startup Wise Guys, Martin Villig (Bolt), Ragnar Sass (Pipedrive), as well as credit providers such as Rivonia Road Capital.

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