Mobility/News/

French online driving startup Ornikar raises $120m

The company's seen an uptick in users since the pandemic started.

By Freya Pratty

Credit: PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 5 2018 - Paris street congested traffic jam all along city.

Ornikar, a Paris-based driving education platform, has raised a $120m Series C round after seeing an uptick in users since the pandemic began. 

The latest funding is led by KKR and includes participation from Idinvest, BPI, Elaia, Brighteye and H14. 

It means Ornikar, which was founded in Nantes in 2013, has received a total of $175m in investment so far.

The company’s platform matches students to independent driving instructors so they can book lessons through its online platform. It also runs online training where students can study for the theoretical part of their tests.

1.5m people have used the platform to learn to drive so far, and a lot of those signed up in the past year. Since the pandemic began, Ornikar has added 420k new users to its platform and it saw 30% growth each month across 2020. 

That’s in line with the trend experienced by other edtech platforms the industry as a whole has done well as education systems across the board made the switch to remote learning. 

“We have proven the effectiveness, sustainability and flexibility of the model we created, including showing that Ornikar can be replicated outside France,” said Benjamin Gaignault the company has just launched in Spain.  

A central aim of Ornikar is to be cheaper than traditional driving schools. The average cost for drivers who pass first time is around €1.3k, but Ornikar says it costs around €750 to learn through its platform.

Driving schools in France tend to be quite small and people can find it hard to book lessons, something Ornikar aims to combat. 

But the company has faced controversy from the more traditional parts of France’s driving school industry. Normally applicants apply for their tests as members of a driving test centre. With Ornikar, they apply for them independently, a move which saw the company face a legal challenge from the UNIC, France’s union of driving schools. The court ruled in favour of Ornikar

Freya Pratty is Sifted’s news reporter. She tweets from @FPratty

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