UK-based Onto raises €59 million to fuel the EV revolution and bring its subscription service across Europe

Electric car subscription service Onto has just raised over €59 million. The UK-based startup is fueling the rising electric vehicle (EV) revolution and is taking its fresh approach to the European continent. 

With the electric vehicle industry growing, there’s space to develop innovation that can make electric car usage more accessible – fueling a new era of driving that is less harmful to the planet and more forward-thinking. That is exactly what Onto aims to do, and they’ve just secured about €59 million in a Series C funding round. 

Onto: EV usership over ownership

Founded in 2017 by Rob Jolly and Dannan O’Meachair, Onto provides an accessible, flexible and simple way for motorists to take the electric vehicle driving wheel. Operating with a subscription-based business model, Onto enables people to sign up for an electric car on a monthly contract. What’s more, the subscription is inclusive of public charging, insurance and breakdown cover, without any upfront deposit or long-term commitment – making it an enticing deal for any motorist out there. 

The UK-based company prioritises car usership rather than ownership, which is a disruptive step forward in the EV space. It means that drivers have more choice and flexibility over the car they drive, but it also makes it more affordable. Electric vehicles are well-known to be the best choice for the future, and with the enhanced tech, they now also offer a great driving experience for petrol-heads alike. However, they have remained the pricey option when it comes to purchasing. Onto removes this barrier through a subscription approach that is inclusive of all the extra costs having a car can bring up. 

Onto has also streamlined the entire user experience by making its platform a digital one. From signing up and booking a car online to having it delivered to your doorstep within just a few days, the whole process is smooth and simple. 

Rob Jolly, CEO and Co-Founder, explained: “A recent EY Consumer Index study showed 49% of car buyers want an electric vehicle as their next car, with upfront costs and concerns about charging seen as the most significant barriers for first time EV buyers. With almost 90% of our customers preferring the convenience of an all-inclusive package that covers everything – even public charging – our unique proposition addresses these customers’ needs with a choice of 18 car models. Onto takes the hassle and effort out of getting an EV. We believe that making it simple and easy to get an electric car is essential to building a sustainable future.”

The market

Onto is tapping into a market with massive growth potential. Moving to more sustainable ways of life is a key priority for governments across Europe as ambitions to reach ent zero need to be met, and soon. This, coupled with the specific plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 (in the UK, but similar plans exist across Europe), consumers are increasingly looking for ways to make the switch. 

In the UK alone, sustainable mobility businesses are growing at a mega-pace – reportedly more than 500% than last year. This is despite the global semiconductor chip shortage. 

Wian Pieterse, Managing Director, Fintech at Legal & General, said: “At Legal & General we’re committed to playing our part in tackling the climate crisis and investing with purpose into companies that do good. Onto is an exciting example of this; an ambitious company with a talented management team that will play a vital role in accelerating the transition to electric vehicles. We expect to see increasing demand for subscription models that not only pave the way towards a sustainable way of living but also meet the needs of those who don’t want to tie up valuable savings or incur a loan to buy a car. Onto has grown rapidly over the last four years, and we’re looking forward to working with the team to help the business scale and expand into new markets, all while investing to benefit the future of our society”.   

The funding

Fueling the startup’s ambitions to lead the EV subscription market, this Series C funding was led by Legal & General. Existing investors including Alfvén & Didrikson, Accelerated Digital Ventures, Cerebrum Tech Limited, and the family office of Jim O’Neill participated in the round.

Onto has now raised approximately €325 million. 

The funding will be used to launch the product across Europe, beginning with Germany in 2023, as the team look to accelerate electric car adoption in mainland Europe, and secure its position as the go-to brand for those looking to make the switch to electric. The company already has an office in Germany and welcomed their newly appointed Managing Director of Germany, Joerg Feldheim. 

Rob Jolly added: “This funding round is a huge milestone for Onto as it sets us off on our journey to Europe. Germany, a nation with an incredible automotive history as Europe’s biggest car-producing country, is a market with huge potential and a great appetite for electric cars. We’re excited to offer something different.”