MERCEDES-Benz Buys FlightCar Technology
FlightCar raised $40 million to solve airport parking with an Airbnb-like sharing model: let a stranger drive your car while you’re away on a trip and in return avoid parking fees and even make a few bucks. Travelers will have to find a new solution.
On Thursday afternoon, the San Francisco-based FlightCar will announce that it is closing operations at all 12 of its airport stations around the U.S. and has sold its technology platform to Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, where it will become part of Mercedes’ innovation lab for mobility services.
The price Mercedes-Benz paid for the four-year-old startup is unknown at this time, but FlightCar’s last financing, a $20 million Series B in September 2015, gave it a $100 million post-money valuation according to venture capital data firm Pitchbook. Some of FlightCar’s more than 90 current employees plan to join Mercedes-Benz, including 21-year-old cofounder and CEO Rujul Zaparde.
Zaparde started FlightCar in 2012 with friends Shri Ganeshram and Kevin Petrovic. They built the company through The Brandery, a startup accelerator in Cincinnati, OH, before graduating from Y Combinator’s Winter 2013 class.