Automotive AI start-up Cazana.com has closed its crowd-fundraise at £1.56m, nearly 160 per cent of its original investment target.

The raise was led by Passion Capital, along with industry heavyweights David Hammond and ex-RAC managing director Robert Diamond, with existing Cazana customers and motoring enthusiasts also investing their money in the rapidly growing business. As a sign of Cazana’s success, Passion Capital added a further £100k to their initial investment during the course of the public raise.

The £1.56m funding will support the global expansion of the business, as well as accelerating monetisation of Cazana’s B2B sales. It will also be used to develop Cazana’s growing suite of services, including the newly acquired Car & Classic website, and support its expansion in the US market.

The home-grown startup, which was launched in 2013 and uses AI and big data to provide customers with information on modern and classic cars, is predicted to hit £22m in revenue by 2022. Cazana’s crowdfund success reflects the evolving motor industry, which in the wake of political uncertainty and concerns over manufacturing is looking to the latest technology to boost growth in the future.

Cazana also offers free online car checking and valuation services for customers, allowing them to access real-time values of vehicles along with previously unseen history information. Its database, which covers every car on the road, also provides insights to businesses to inform their lending and pricing strategy.

The Financial Ombudsman also recommends the use of Cazana for insurance total loss valuations with many of the UK’s leading motor insurers now benefiting from Cazana’s accurate, whole market valuations.

The acquisition of Car & Classic in 2018 enabled Cazana to pool two powerful digital motoring databases. Car & Classic is Europe’s largest classic car community as well as the world’s largest classified website for classic cars, facilitating the sale of more than 480 million classic cars in 2018. This latest round of finance aims to boost the reach of both platforms.

Tom Wood, CEO of Cazana, said: “I’m absolutely delighted with this amazing result and to see Cazana and Car & Classic raise significantly above target.

“It’s fantastic to see a whole range of investors become a part of the company, from well-established backers to first-time investors. With the acquisition of Car & Classic last year and the closing of this raise, it’s been an unbelievably successful twelve months for us.

“This raise will accelerate our plans for UK growth, secure a stronger foothold in the US, invest in our consumer facing platforms and expand our reach and services to better help both consumers and businesses. The motor industry is full of potential for businesses pushing it in a new direction and I can’t wait to get going on our plans for the future.”

Luke Lang, co-founder of Crowdcube, said: “It is exciting to see companies like Car & Classic / Cazana challenge and drive transparency in a traditionally opaque industry. It is their dedication and passion that has resonated so much with the Crowdcube community.”