Fair, a used-vehicle leasing subscription service led by auto retail heavyweights, is the latest company to catch SoftBank Corp.'s eye. The Japanese technology giant led Fair's latest $385 million funding round, Fair said Thursday.
SoftBank has rapidly invested in the automotive vertical over the past year. Scott Painter, Fair's CEO, said the funding will help accelerate its year-old partnership with Uber. SoftBank became a major shareholder for Uber in late 2017.
In October 2018, SoftBank and Toyota Motor Corp. agreed to jointly invest in Monet Technologies Corp., which aims to use vehicles such as Toyota's e-Pallett autonomous cargo carrier concept to deliver food, medical supplies and retail shopping items to remote areas.
Through its Vision Fund arm, SoftBank also plans to invest $2.25 billion in GM Cruise, General Motors' autonomous vehicle business.
"We believe [Fair's platform] unlocks tremendous value for customers and will create new partnership opportunities across the transportation industry more broadly," Lydia Jett, senior investor at SoftBank Investment Advisers and investment adviser to the SoftBank Vision Fund, said in a Fair statement announcing the funding.
Fair is led by former TrueCar CEO Scott Painter and is powered by a roster of former auto executives, such as Diarmuid O'Connell, previously vice president of business development for Tesla, and Georg Bauer, former CEO of Mercedes-Benz Credit Corp.
The company scaled nationwide this year, after it was founded by Painter in August 2017.
Through Fair, consumers can shop for used-vehicle leases with no term via a mobile app. They scan their licenses to get prequalified for a range of monthly payments that cover maintenance, a warranty, insurance and roadside assistance. Rather than stick to a two- or four-year lease term, with five days' notice, customers can return their vehicles whenever they want.
Fair has partnered with more than 3,000 dealerships nationwide and has more than 20,000 users.