03/29/2011: Limos.com Secures $10 Million in Financing from Austin Ventures

Former members of Hotwire.com team have built the world’s largest online marketplace for limo and car services, saving leisure and business travelers millions

SAN FRANCISCO and AUSTIN, TX – March 29, 2011 – Limos.com today announced $10 million in financing from leading venture capital firm Austin Ventures and the release of its new corporate travel management product, Limos.com for Business.

“Three years ago we saw an opportunity to bring a highly fragmented offline industry to the web and use technology to create an efficient, transparent marketplace that benefits both consumers and suppliers,” stated T.J. Clark, Limos.com President & CEO. “After our experience at Hotwire.com, we couldn’t understand why there wasn’t an easy way to search, compare and book car services online, which has been so popular for hotel rooms and airfares. Austin Ventures will be a fantastic partner for advancing our strategy and business model, given their experience and proven success in online travel.”

Limos.com has become the largest online destination for limo services1 by offering leisure travelers easy comparison of top local car service companies, consumer reviews and instant online booking that clearly shows the total cost upfront, including the driver’s tip. Additionally, all Limos.com operators are pre-screened and covered by $10 million in insurance. Major online sites, including OpenTable.com, Live Nation/Ticketmaster.com and David’s Bridal, have partnered with Limos.com to feature booking buttons prominently on their sites.

Austin Ventures Partner Mike Dodd said, “After quietly building a profitable business and assembling the largest local supplier network in the world, Limos.com has by far the broadest footprint, best technology platform and overall growth potential we’ve seen among the players in the ground transportation industry. In our view, car service is the last major travel category to become web-enabled.”

Ground transportation in the U.S. alone is a $36 billion industry2 ($17 billion private car and $19 billion taxi), with less than 5 percent of reservations currently made online. Additionally, the industry is highly fragmented with local, independent car service operators whose inventory is not broadly available online.

Limos.com for Business

Limos.com is also announcing Limos.com for Business, an online car service management product that offers advanced controls for corporate travel managers and direct access to quality local car service operators. Limos.com estimates that its system holds specially-negotiated rates and inventory from 80% of the U.S. suppliers who specialize in corporate car services. Last year Limos.com expanded its reach to China, India and South America.

“We estimate that companies overpay by at least 40 percent on car services when they don’t book with local suppliers,” said Clark. “Limos.com for Business also provides business travel managers with modern controls like reporting and policy settings, which have been so successful in helping companies save millions in their air and hotel spend.”

In coming weeks, the company also will launch its mobile applications for iPhone and Android, which will allow travelers to search and book car services “on the go” in all of its markets worldwide.

Austin Ventures Partners Mike Dodd and John Thornton will join the Limos.com board of directors. The new Austin Ventures investment adds to the company’s original funding of $5 million from Canal Partners.

About Limos.com

Limos.com is the largest online marketplace for chauffeured transportation worldwide, enabling leisure and business travelers to compare and book pre-screened car services at specially-negotiated discounts of up to 40 percent off standard rates. With exclusive search technology, thousands of quality local vendors and helpful customer reviews, Limos.com consistently delivers more ways to find the perfect car service or limousine for any occasion. Learn more at www.limos.com.

About Austin Ventures

Austin Ventures (“AV”) has worked with talented entrepreneurs to build valuable companies for over twenty-five years. With $3.9 billion under management, AV is the most active venture capital and growth equity firm in Texas and one of the most established in the nation. With an investment focus on new media, Internet and information services, software, business services, supply chain, financial services and Texas special situations, AV invests at all stages of company development, from $100,000 in “planned experiments” in early stage ideas to $100+ million investments in expansion rounds, minority recapitalizations, and buyouts of lower middle market growth companies. AV’s strategy is to partner with talented executives and entrepreneurs through its CEO-in-Residence and Entrepreneur-in-Residence programs. Visit www.austinventures.com for more information.

About Canal Partners

Canal Partners is a Private Equity firm located in Scottsdale, AZ that seeks to realize superior returns by investing and partnering with proven management teams to create and increase value for highly scalable, growth-oriented companies – with a focus on software and internet technologies. Visit Canal Partners at www.canalpartnersllc.com/ for more information.

1Based on site traffic and unique visitors as measured by Google Ad Planner
2Source:  IBIS Research 2010