Cardiff-headquartered Finalrentals, a global online car rental web app business, has closed a recent funding round by a group of four business angels led by investor Eamon Tuhami and venture capital company Fuel Ventures. Wales Angel Co-Investment Fund of the Development Bank of Wales also matched the six-figure funding.
Finalrentals, based in Tec Marina in Penarth, was founded by Ammar Akhtar back in 2019 in Dubai. Ammar originally belongs to Pakistan but relocated to the UK from Poland with an Innovator Visa as part of the UK Government’s Global Entrepreneur Programme where he took part in FinTech Wales’ Foundry. It is a no-equity accelerator programme that provides mentorship and support to help incubate and scale startups in Wales.
With a background in building software and websites, Ammar started Finalrentals with a team of 8 – four of which were women. Local car rental companies now use this innovative platform all over the world, including countries like Canada, the United States of America, and the United Arab Emirates.
Ammar Akhtar remarked about his journey: “From Pakistan to Dubai, then Poland to Cardiff, this has been a three-year journey that started in my home garage fondly known as the ‘Gar-Office’.
He further talked about his business idea and execution, saying:
Over half of the global car rental industry is made up of local car rental companies who are great at customer service but know little about eCommerce. I knew from my experience of working for companies like Thrifty, Dollar and Payless that there was a great opportunity to develop an innovative car rental platform that could be accessible to local providers.
We have worked tirelessly to build the software and get our product known in the market but taking part in the Fintech Wales programme was the catalyst for growth. It gave us a great opportunity to network with the investor community in Wales and benefit from mentorship which has ultimately led to us being able to secure this major investment that will enable us to now scale the business. There is certainly a culture of innovation and growth in Wales and I’m now proud to call Cardiff my home.
Lead investor and founder of Hwyl.Ventures Eamon Tuhami remarked at this occasion: “I was surprised to learn that 52% of the world’s car rental companies are small businesses who struggle to take and make orders online. Ammar and his team have built an innovative platform which has global reach and is already making a difference. It’s been a pleasure to connect him into the ecosystem, see him part of the FinTech Wales Foundry program and introduce him to other angels and funds. I warmly welcome him and his family to Wales and believe that this is just the beginning of something very exciting.”
“As the biggest angel network in Wales, we connect experienced investors with Welsh businesses seeking private investment. Led by experienced investor and business angel Eamon, this particular syndicate will bring real firepower to Finalrentals as one of the world’s best-in-class web applications for car rental providers. We are also pleased to welcome the support of Fuel Ventures,” said Tom Preene, Operations Manager at Wales Angel Co-Investment Fund.