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Audi's big bet on Silvercar

Silvercar, a rental car start-up featuring only silver Audi A4 sedans, has turned to the German luxury brand to fund its latest expansion.

Audi has spearheaded a $28 million Series C round of equity fundraising for the independent Silvercar. The investment will provide the start-up with the money it needs to expand into more markets across the U.S.

In addition, Audi of America President Scott Keogh will join Silvercar's board of directors, and the rental company will team up with Audi to develop a car-share program for businesses.

"Silvercar represents not just the future of the rental industry, but a vision for the future of mobility," Keogh said. "We want to utilize the company's strengths in technology and innovation to merge connectivity and mobility for today's consumer."

The partnership between Silvercar and Audi, a subsidiary of Volkswagen, is the latest sign of traditional auto brands looking for new ways to grow their business. More importantly, the companies' commitment to developing car-sharing programs for corporate campuses signals the growing attention automakers are placing on alternative transportation plans.

In the last year, several major automakers — including General Motors, Ford, and BMW — have introduced or expanded plans for car-share programs.

Lyft on Monday said GM invested $500 million in the company as part of a round of a $1 billion round of fund-raising.

"Audi's confidence in Silvercar allows us to extend our reach even further, and bring forth the concept of shared mobility into many more markets, applications and product offerings," Silvercar CEO Luke Schneider said.

Since its founding in 2012, Silvercar has expanded to 12 markets around the U.S. The privately held company said its business tripled in 2015, though it has not provided financial figures.

Prior to this round of funding, Silvercar had raised $31 million.

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