The average car in the US is utilized 5% of the time.
— “Today’s Cars Are Parked 95% of the Time,” Fortune, 2016
It is our job as investors to try to predict the future and place bets on the visionary founders poised to deliver that future. At BV, when we stand in our imagined future and look around we see amazing potential for our built world. Yet what may be most notable is what we do not see: more than 1 billion passenger cars and the parking spaces reserved for them.
One of our core investment focuses is the need for increased utilization of our existing built environment, embodied in our thesis on Space as a Service. Perhaps the most underutilized of the spaces we occupy are the private vehicles we use to move about the built environment. In fact, private cars are NOT USED 95% of the time. Despite this fact, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics they remain the second largest household expense in America behind only housing. Americans spend more on their cars than they do on food! While the need for convenient, reliable, point to point transportation will not abate, private car ownership with low utilization and high expense is a poor solution. Shared vehicle mobility is a solution so long as it is convenient, reliable, and more affordable than the private car alternative. The founders of Envoy have developed a solution that offers all the benefits of private car ownership without the associated costs (or environmental externalities).
Founded in 2017 by real estate and tech entrepreneurs Aric Ohana and Ori Sagie, Envoy partners with CRE industry leaders to offer onsite mobility services including electric car-sharing and EV charging for apartments, offices, and hotels. Envoy’s Mobility as an Amenity™ service is a turn-key solution that includes technology to reserve and access vehicles, driver insurance, maintenance, and electric vehicle chargers. Even in the face of a global pandemic, the company has experienced record utilization amounting to more than 1.25 million electric miles driven.
As Travis wrote in our recent Investment Thesis post on Space as a Service, the internet has enabled the birth of countless “as a service” business models granting consumers unthwarted access to get what we need when we need it, nothing more, nothing less. Just as our expectations as consumers have been heightened by this “on demand” economy, this same mindshift is coming for real estate and will require owners of all property types to transform how they operate. Across multi-family residential, commercial, and hospitality, this translates to amenities that delight occupants and become integral to their experience of the property.
Add to this a burgeoning interest in, and expanded infrastructure for electric vehicles, and Envoy has reached an ideal intersection. The company makes manifest for its customers TODAY a future that embraces electric mobility, the sharing economy, utilization of space, and the tenant experience. They have latched onto an idea whose time has come and found the go-to-market vectors to deploy against. We are betting that Envoy will not only become a demanded amenity across communities but will also help usher in the electric mobility revolution.
We were thrilled to co-lead Envoy’s $11 million Series A round with Shell Ventures and included other notable investors; DENSO, Goodyear Ventures, GroundBreak Ventures, and the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator Impact Fund. As part of this round, the company secured a $70 million vehicle financing facility provided by Macquarie Specialized and Asset Finance, a part of Macquarie Group. The capital will enable Envoy to continue expansion throughout the United States. We look forward to being part of the journey!
Learn more about Envoy here.