Limos.com, the prom night champion of millions (remember, kids: it's all fun and games until someone loses their virginity), on Tuesday announced a $10 million round of funding led by Austin Ventures. Additionally, the company is unveiling its new offering: Limos.com for Business. The funds bring the company's total raised to $15 million.
Limos.com was launched in 2007 as the Hotwire.com for car services, allowing users to quickly compare prices online as they would hotel rates or plane fares. Limos.com users can also check out consumer reviews, compare different services from the top local companies, and see the total upfront cost, including the driver's tip. All local operators are pre-screened by Limos.com and drivers are covered by $10 million in insurance.
A number of major brands and services have partnered with Limos.com to promote the company on their sites, including OpenTable.com, David's Bridal, and Live Nation/TicketMaster.com.
The company's new business offering will provide advanced controls for corporate travel managers, direct access to local car service operators, and specially negotiated rates among 80% of the US suppliers who offer corporate car services.
"We estimate that companies overpay by at least 40 percent on car services when they don't book with local suppliers," said T.J. Clark, President and CEO of Limos.com. "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 the coming weeks, the company also plans to release its mobile app for iPhone and Android, which will allow smartphone owners to book car services on-the-go. The app will be available to use in all of Limos.com's markets worldwide.
"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," said Austin Ventures Partner Mike Dodd, who will be joining the company's Board of Directors. "In our view, car service is the last major travel category to become web-enabled."
The company notes that despite the fact that ground transporation is a $36 billion industry in the U.S. alone, less than 5% of reservations are made online and the highly fragmented nature of the industry means many services don't even offer their inventory online.
Last year the company expanded to China, India, and South America.
Image source: Limos.com