Red Dot Ventures, an early stage investment firm under the National Research Foundation’s Technology Incubation Scheme, has announced today that it has invested SGD589K (USD482K) in iCarsClub – a Singapore-based startup providing a marketplace to rent underutilized private cars.
The online platform enables car owners to list their vehicles, which can then be rented by other users. This enables them to make better use of their vehicle’s down time and earn some extra income on the side.
Enabling this rental scheme is iCarBox, a piece of hardware installed in the car that allows renters to unlock the vehicle’s doors using their own smartphones.
Launched in December 2012, iCarsClub has accumulated 3,000 members and 300 participating cars. They aim to reach 5,000 members and 1,000 cars in Singapore, and another 1,000 cars in China. The company hopes to expand to China’s first tier cities like Beijing and Shanghai this year.
Startups with a hardware component seem to be a focus of Red Dot Ventures. At least two of its previous investments — 3D printer company Pirate3D and loss prevention startup Innova Technology — integrate some form of hardware into their business models.