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London Tech Week

Ride-hailing firm inDrive launches new venture and M&A arm to invest $100M in startups

Andries Smit
Picture credits: inDrive

US-based inDrive, a mobility and urban services platform has announced the launch of a new venture and M&A arm, New Ventures. It aims to invest up to $100 million in promising startups. 

Investment criteria 

The New Ventures investments will back post-seed and pre-Series A companies with proven product market fit. It focuses on local market startups with the potential for global expansion, rapid organic growth, and healthy economics and cash flow. The $100 million will be invested over the next few years, starting from 2024. 

It targets startups from regions where it already has a presence, like Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, Southeast Asia, and Central Asia. While it will initially focus on the ride-hailing industry, it will move towards delivery and fintech or insurtech. 

InDrive’s New Ventures unit is dedicated to helping investee and acquired companies scale quickly across inDrive’s platform. These companies are set to gain a competitive edge by tapping its global multi-million customer base across over 45 markets, and access to the company’s go-to-market know-how and technology.

In addition to this, seasoned entrepreneur and investment professional Andries Smit joins inDrive as Vice President of New Ventures and will head the M&A arm. 

Bid-based ride-hailing platform 

Arsen Tomsky founded inDrive back in 2012 in Russia but moved its base to the US. A few months back the company introduced a new type of ride-hailing app to South Florida. This bid-based platform lets commuters name their fare for a ride and drivers in the vicinity accept, decline or counter this fare. 

This approach brought a paradigm shift in the market wherein ride-hail customers were facing higher fares and drivers are classified as independent contractors but have no control on how much they charge for rides. However, the challenge faced due to this is long wait times for riders or constant declines from riders. 

In 2021, inDrive raised $150 million in Series C at a $1.25 billion valuation. With the funds, the company expanded beyond ride-hail and into intercity transportation, freight delivery, task assistance, courier delivery and employment search.

Andries Smit, Vice President of New Ventures at inDrive, said: “By investing in emerging companies innovating to improve people’s lives, inDrive further strengthens its commitment to challenging injustice by helping successful, but overlooked startups. The company is uniquely positioned to do this, leveraging its presence and fast growth in these emerging markets that have much weaker access to capital markets than developed countries. I’m thrilled to apply my own venture building and investing experience to help inDrive transform the lives of innovative founders hungry to scale up their successful businesses that contribute to a better world.” 

Mark Loughran, President of inDrive, added: “The mission at the heart of New Ventures is to find overlooked, high-growth startups that may be operating outside of traditional innovation hub regions, and support their development to increase their positive impact. Andries has a unique blend of corporate and venture building experience that makes him a perfect fit to lead New Ventures, and we are confident the energy and experience he brings will help us surpass our investment goals.” 

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