On Tuesday, Ingka Group, the investment arm of global home-assembly discount furniture maker IKEA, announced that it has made a minority investment in Denver, Colorado freight-tech company Fluid Truck, a peer-to-peer truck-share company that provides outsourced fleet management and short-to-medium term vehicle rentals. The investment was part of a $63 million Series A venture capital round together with Bison Capital, a New York City-based middle-market private equity firm, and Sumitomo Corporation of the Americas. Prior investors in Fluid Truck, which was founded in 2016, include NEA, Correlation Ventures and Grotech Ventures.
The investment is part of Ingka Group’s intention of becoming “climate positive” by 2030, a goal that will require the company to cut CO2 emissions from all parts of its value chain, including home deliveries. As a result, all customer deliveries and services will be completed using electric vehicles or other zero-emissions solutions by the year 2025 (Ingka Group earlier this year announced that it has reached its goal of providing EV chargers at every IKEA store with a parking lot) Having just incorporated 600 EV trucks and fans to its fleet from Lightning Electric in the fourth quarter of 2020, Fluid Truck is aiming for total electrification of its fleet, and Ingka Group’s investment will support that objective.
”We are delighted with this investment in Fluid Truck as this partnership is closely aligned with our zero emission customer delivery ambitions,” said Krister Mattsson, Managing Director of Ingka Investments, in a statement on the transaction. “Fluid Truck has an increasingly electrified delivery fleet across the U.S, so this is another step in enabling IKEA Retail to provide last mile delivery services to our customers, continue to improve on our customer promise, while also reducing our environmental footprint. We are impressed with the company’s team, innovative mindset, revenue traction to date and their continued growth.”
IKEA Retail U.S. is currently working with Fluid Truck to establish an electric truck rental program for last mile deliveries, initially in New York and Los Angeles. Fluid Truck currently operates in 25 markets across the U.S.
Discount retailer enters financial services
Earlier this month, Ingka Group–which owns and operates 378 IKEA stores and the affiliated e-commerce platform in 37 countries–made what it called “a decisive step into financial services” (preceding recent news that U.S. big-box retailer Wal-Mart may have similar ambitions in traditional banking) with the purchase of a 49 percent stake in Ikano Bank, a publicly listed Swedish digital bank.
Ikano Bank was established in Malmö, Sweden by IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad back in 1995, and since then has served as IKEA Retail’s consumer finance provider in eight countries. Per Ingka Investments, the new partnership with Ikano Bank “will enable [Ikano] to accelerate its digital transformation and deliver accessible financial services for ‘more of the many’ people.”