KKR leads $100m+ funding round in rental marketplace RVshare

US: Peer-to-peer RV [recreational vehicle] rental marketplace RVshare has announced a $100+ million fundraising round led by global investment firm KKR, with participation by existing investor Tritium Partners.

The fundraising will provide capital, as well as access to KKR’s operational resources and global network, to help RVshare build on its leadership position and record 2020 growth with goals to rapidly scale the RV rental industry.

Founded in 2013, RVshare seeks to connect travellers looking to experience motor vehicle travel with RV owners interested in turning their RV into a second source of income. Since the company’s founding in 2013, RVshare has built a leading position in the emerging market of RV rentals, amassing more than two million days booked on its platform and over 100,000 RVs ranging from luxury motorhomes to camper vans to travel trailers.

RVshare CEO Jon Grey said: “At RVshare, our mission is to expand the definition of travel, providing a unique, seamless experience that will allow travellers to build lifelong memories with loved ones. I am very proud of our employees and thankful to our customers for helping build RVshare into the market leader it is today – and we are only at the beginning of where our business can go.

“This financing and the support of KKR’s global platform positions us well to invest in future growth and provide the best experience for our owners and renters,” he added.

Jake Heller, co-head of KKR’s technology growth team in the Americas, said: “We are thrilled to work together with RVshare to build on the success they have achieved to date as a market leader in an important yet underserved category of travel. Jon and team have proven they can deliver explosive growth with impressive capital efficiency and we look forward to leveraging KKR’s global experience and network in mobility, travel and technology to help unlock new opportunities for RVshare.”

Ben Pederson, principal with KKR’s technology growth team, added: “RVs are the preferred accommodation for the more than 40 million US households that go camping each year. Younger generations of travellers are discovering and embracing domestic travel and RVshare is providing a seamless marketplace experience where RV owners can share their passion for camping and unlock the value of their assets.”

Phil Siegel, managing director of Tritium Partners, said: “RVshare has helped provide amazing travel experiences for millions of travellers and has seen sensational growth since its founding. As a result of the pandemic, RVshare has seen an acceleration of growth as consumers have sought out RVs as a way to travel during these challenging times.

“Tritium is excited to continue investing in this team, business, and a category that is just getting started. Adding the KKR team, with their fantastic set of experiences and resources, will help take RVshare to much greater heights,” he added.

KKR is making its investment through its Next Generation Technology Growth Fund II, a global fund dedicated to growth equity investments in the technology space. Since 2014, the firm has supported a number of technology-focused growth companies, investing over $2.7 billion in such firms.

GCA Global served as financial advisor to RVshare on the deal.

While RV rentals may not necessarily be a new phenomenon, the market is currently riding the crest of the wave as demand surges steeply for vehicles in which groups and families can move around from place to place in a safe environment, travel restriction permitting. RVshare itself confirmed that it had seen its bookings over the autumn rise 166 per cent year-on-year on the same period from 2019, on top of a 650 per cent spike in RV rental bookings in May compared to April this year.

Other companies in the same space are also faring well due to the resurgence in the RV rental trend.

Peer-to-peer RV rental company Outdoorsy recently secured $88 million in venture funding, camper van and caravan rental agency startup, Cabana [which launched earlier this year], has raised more than $3.5 million from investors, and Kibbo, another newly-launched startup, offers rental vans, a network of home bases and more for a monthly fee for adventurous nomads.

Meanwhile, investment firm KKR manages multiple alternative asset classes, including private equity, credit and real assets, with strategic partners that manage hedge funds.

The firm has already invested heavily in the travel sector this year despite the pandemic. In June, it bought Dutch company Roompot, the second largest operator of vacation parks in Europe, from private equity firm PAI Partners for $1.12 billion [€1 billion].