Car subscription service Cluno scores $28M in Series B funding led by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures

Cluno, the Munich startup providing what it calls a “car subscription” service, has raised $28 million in Series B funding. The round is led by Valar Ventures, the U.S.-based venture capital firm founded by Peter Thiel.

Acton Capital Partners and Atlantic Labs, which both backed the company’s Series A round, also participated. It brings total raised by Cluno to $36 million in funding in under one year.

Founded in 2017 by the same team behind easyautosale (which exited to Autoscout24 in 2015), Cluno offers an alternative to car ownership or a more restrictive lease by enabling you to subscribe to a car for an all-inclusive monthly fee. Available in Germany only, you book your car online or via the Cluno app, with the monthly fee covering all costs except fuel. After a minimum term of six months, subscribers can return or switch their car with three months notice.

Cluno says it will use the additional capital to further accelerate the company’s growth and to invest in its technology. This sees bookings, as well as credit checks and signatures, all carried out paperlessly via the Cluno app. In terms of car choice, the startup offers almost 50 models from nine different car companies, including BMW, VW, Audi and Ford. Models span small cars to SUVs, including hybrid and electric vehicles.

“Cluno is a full-stack provider,” is how Cluno co-founder and CEO Nico Polleti frames the company. “We control the whole value chain.” This, he tells me, includes doing solvency checks, scoring, buying and financing the cars, analysing and estimating residual values, insurance and more. “One of the VCs I spoke to said Cluno is 50 percent mobility and 50 percent fintech,” he says. “We invest time and money in structured financing to buy more Cluno cars and make more customers happy.”

The Cluno team is now 55 strong and will grow to around 85 by the end of the year. In particular, Cluno is hiring tech, finance and marketing people based at its office in Munich. The product road map still has a way to go, too.

“At the moment, the app only allows you to subscribe to a car out of the predefined Cluno portfolio,” explains Polleti. “[The] next step will be the Cluno app giving access to dealer stock via an API.” This will see Cluno form partnerships with dealers and OEMs to grow the supply side of its offering.