Mobile valeting firm Fresh Car targets UK-wide presence catalysed by funding boost

Mobile auto care start-up Fresh Car is looking to rev up its presence across the UK, accelerated by a six-figure funding boost, and having already doubled headcount since the beginning of the year.

The Edinburgh-based company, founded by Sam Brennan from the back of his father’s car in 2015 as a project at Heriot-Watt University, has secured a £500,000 investment led by private equity investor Foresight Group.

Fresh Car has upped headcount to 14 this year, now has 75 franchisees, including in Ireland, and is targeting a big upswing in such operators in London and the South-east of England over the next year. Mr Brennan is now targeting around 100 franchisees and UK-wide coverage in place by the end of this year, and getting its “Smart repair” business off the starter grid in Edinburgh ahead of a nationwide rollout.

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Chief executive Mr Brennan says the firm is “revolutionising the way people manage their car care” and has grown monthly platform revenue “significantly” since the beginning of the year, amid a UK market it says boasts around 31 million car-owners and is valued at more than £1.2 billion.

Founder and CEO Sam Brennan believes the firm is 'revolutionising the way people manage their car care'. Picture: Stewart Attwood.

The company boss added: “We are demonstrating that there is a new way for people to manage their car care, from cleaning and basic car care, right through to maintenance and repairs. The ‘Smart repair’ service we are trialling locally in Edinburgh is something we fully expect to rollout UK-wide in 2023."

He also praised the backing of sustainability-focused alternative assets and smaller firm investment manager Foresight and its investment director Graeme McKinstry’s “dedicated support and advice as the newest addition to our board”. Mr McKinstry said: “We are delighted to invest alongside the experienced angel investors, backing Sam and the Fresh Car team for their next stage of growth. The team is targeting a significant market opportunity and has built a scalable technology platform, enabling the business to grow quickly with recent new franchise launches across the UK and Ireland.” Foresight opened an Edinburgh office in 2019, and last year bought the Blackpark battery energy storage project in Nairn.

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Looking to 2023, Mr Brennan says Fresh Car aims to grow its business-to-business offering by meeting demand for valeting and repairs, and is likely to ramp up its service offering for the electric vehicles sector.