As continentally confined Americans look for domestic vacation options that won’t expose them to too much risk of infection from the pandemic that’s still raging across the country, the RV rental company RVshare has raised more than $100 million to capitalize on its historic opportunity.
The company’s new cash has come from the private equity firms KKR and Tritium Partners, and is intended to provide operational support to meet the booming demand for RVs as Americans hit the road in unprecedented numbers.
Growth for the Akron, Ohio-based company can only be described as absurd. The company saw a 650% increase in bookings from April to May of 2020, according to a report in The Drive.
The resurgence of the RV industry isn’t just pandemically driven, but there’s no doubt that the outbreak of Sars-Cov-2 has played a role in the dramatic surge in demand for campers. Vacationers just don’t have many other options, given travel restrictions and risk.
And RVshare certainly isn’t alone in reaping the benefits.
There’s Outdoorsy, a peer-to-peer RV rental company that was founded in 2015; bootstrapped by its founders for a couple of years, it has more recently attracted $88 million in venture funding. That funding included a $13 million extension to a $50 million Series B round that it quietly closed early this year, as TechCrunch reported. Cabana, another startup, launched by a former Lime executive, is merging the RV rental market with hotels. Then there’s Kibbo, which is turning RV parks into a photo-worthy version of the hashtag vanlife.
Founded in 2013, RVshare connects RV owners with people who want to rent an RV. Since 2013, the company has amassed a network of more than 100,000 recreational vehicles or trailers, ranging from deluxe motorhomes to camper vans to trailer attachments. Led by chief executive Jon Gray, RVshare has seen bookings for the fall rising 166% year-on-year from 2019.
“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.”
KKR made the investment through its Next Generation Technology Growth Fund II, which closed with $2.2 billion in January 2020. The investment in RVshare is actually the tenth commitment from the fund. Earlier investments include Zwift, ReliaQuest, Artlist, Darktrace, o9 Solutions and Slice.
GCA Global served as financial advisor to RVshare on the deal, according to a statement.
“RVs are the preferred accommodation for the more than 40 million US households that go camping each year,” said Ben Pederson, a Principal with KKR’s Technology Growth team. “Younger generations of travelers 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.”