Planet42 raises US$100 million to accelerate global expansion

Planet42 raises US$100 million to accelerate global expansion

  • Planet42’s business has quadrupled in size in the past year.
  • Funding will support the strategy to provide 1 million cars to people excluded from traditional car financing. 
  • Expansion in South Africa and Mexico to accelerate, with new markets under consideration. 

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (22 February 2023) – Planet42, the car subscription startup addressing transport inequality by putting cars in the hands of people who cannot access traditional bank credit, has raised $100 million in combined equity and debt funding. The $15 million equity round was co-led by Naspers and ARS Holdings, with participation from existing and new shareholders, including Rivonia Road Capital, who also provided a $75 million credit facility. Private investors contributed a further $10 million in debt financing. The funds will enable Planet42 to rapidly scale its business and meet its ambition of providing 1 million cars worldwide.

In 2021 Planet42 raised $6 million in equity and $24 million in debt financing. Since then, the company has nearly quadrupled the size of its business and purchased well over 5,000 cars in South Africa in the last 12 months alone. 

According to the United Nations, 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. 

Planet42 is addressing transport inequality with a socially inclusive subscription model. This model provides people who are underserved by traditional banking institutions with a path to vehicle ownership. Using proprietary scoring algorithms and data science, Planet42 assesses a customer’s risk level and generates an offer to acquire a car from a car dealership of their choice.

In South Africa, nearly 1,000 dealerships have been added to the Planet42 network. Planet42 buys the customer’s chosen car and rents it out to them on a subscription basis. Of the customers served to date, 89% would not have been able to access a personal vehicle through other means. Dealers in Planet42’s South African network have reported an average increase in sales of 26% since becoming partners. 

Following the success of the business model in South Africa, Planet42 recently launched in Mexico, with over 250 cars already delivered to customers. Given the similarities with problematic access to mobility in South Africa and Mexico, it is the perfect next step for Planet42 as it seeks to address transport inequality on a global scale. 

“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. We are here to make transport more accessible and are constantly working on making Planet42’s car subscription offering accessible to people unfairly ignored by banks,” said Eerik Oja, co-founder and CEO of Planet42. 

“Our experience in South Africa has shown that the subscription model can make an enormous impact on everyday people in emerging markets. We have also expanded into Mexico, a country with similar challenges to South Africa, with a large population of underbanked working people struggling with transport inequality. Our goal is to buy cars for a total of 1 million families in the coming years,” he added. 

“I’m thrilled to support Planet42 as they expand worldwide and improve the lives of thousands of individuals who face limited access to private transportation, which can significantly impact their quality of life and opportunities. 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.

“Rivonia Road is excited to partner with Planet42 by providing the capital needed to address this market inefficiency and help democratize access to mobility for thousands of underserved consumers worldwide,” said Rivonia Road Capital’s Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Daniel Zinn.

“Planet42 is a unique and transformational company, offering a life-changing solution to the people that it serves. Planet42’s exceptional founding and management team have achieved substantial traction since inception in very large but historically underserved markets. We look forward to being a part of Planet42’s ongoing success,” he continued.

About Planet42

Planet42 is a mobility startup that offers rent-to-buy car subscriptions. Founded in 2017 in Estonia and with operations in South Africa and Mexico, Planet42 is fighting transport inequality by putting cars in the hands of people unfairly ignored by banks. By combining a proprietary scoring engine with a robust car dealership partner network, Planet42 has been able to buy cars for 15,000 people that struggle with access to traditional vehicle financing. 

The startup has raised $150 million in combined equity and debt funding from investors such as Naspers, Change Ventures, Startup Wise Guys, Martin Villig (Bolt), Ragnar Sass (Pipedrive) and Andrew Rolfe as well as credit providers such as Rivonia Road Capital. It has been certified as a CarbonNeutral® company since 2021 by Climate Impact Partners, the leading experts on carbon neutrality and climate finance. Planet42 aims to buy 1,000,000 cars for its customers worldwide. For more information, go to www.planet42.com


About Naspers 

Established in 1915, Naspers has transformed itself to become a global consumer internet company and one of the largest technology investors in the world. Through Prosus, the group operates and invests globally in markets with long-term growth potential, building leading consumer internet companies that empower people and enrich communities. Prosus has its primary listing on Euronext Amsterdam, and a secondary listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and Naspers is the majority owner of Prosus. 

In South Africa, Naspers is one of the foremost investors in the technology sector and is committed to building its internet and ecommerce companies. These include Takealot, Mr D Food, Superbalist, Autotrader, Property24 and PayU, in addition to Media24, South Africa’s leading print and digital media business. 

Naspers has a primary listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (NPN.SJ), a secondary listing on the A2X Exchange (NPN.AJ) in South Africa, and has a level 1 American Depository Receipt (ADR) programme which trades on an over-the-counter basis in the United States of America.

For more information, please visit www.naspers.com

Naspers Foundry 

Naspers is also focused on stimulating South Africa’s local tech sector through Naspers Foundry. This is a R1.4 billion investment vehicle that invests in early-stage technology companies that seek to address big societal needs. 

Naspers Labs 

In 2019, Naspers Labs, a youth development programme designed to transform and launch South Africa’s unemployed youth into economic activity, was launched. Naspers Labs focuses on digital skills and training, enabling young people to pursue tech careers. 

Naspers for Good 

Naspers employees is equally committed to giving back. Naspers for Good is a corporate philanthropy fund administered by a committee of employees in South Africa. Through the fund, Naspers forms partnerships with organisations that have a proven track record of delivering solutions for the most pressing challenges affecting our communities. Email [email protected] for more information. 

Response to COVID-19

Naspers contributed R1.5 billion of emergency aid to support the South African government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This contribution consisted of R500 million towards the Solidarity Fund and R1 billion worth of PPE sourced and distributed to South Africa’s front-line healthcare workers. In addition, Naspers contributed R6.9 million to the Nelson Mandela Foundation's EachOne FeedOne programme to support families who COVID-19 has impacted with meals for a year.