BigRentz, the US online rental portal, has raised US$15 million from private investors led by Japan’s Itochu Corp. The deal also signals a possible geographical expansion for BigRentz in other rental markets around the world, supported by Itochu.
The company will use the funds to acquire Atlanta-based Equipment Management Group (EMG), which is an online rental portal for products such as portable toilets, dumpsters (skips), storage containers and temporary fencing.
The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. EMG’s Atlanta office will now operate as a BigRentz regional base.
The money will also be allocated to the previously announced acquisition of Chicago-based Lizzy Lift, an access rental business.
Itochu, which is now BigRentz’s lead investor, described the deal as a capital and business alliance. Itochu has previously invested in equipment rental, owning German company Baurent before selling it to Boels Rental in 2012.
“While we are cognizant of the current health and economic landscape, we have ambitious growth plans and believe Itochu is the ideal investment partner to help execute our 10-year strategy,” said Scott Cannon, Chairman and CEO at BigRentz.
“Part of that strategy is acquiring more customers and expanding our offerings. EMG greatly compliments the BigRentz network with its site services equipment, such as waste management, storage containers, and portable toilets. Additionally, their expansive long-term client base will now benefit from our best in class rental technology.”
BigRentz said the global equipment rental market “represents significant opportunity” for the business.
Itochu’s Masa Yoshikawa, who is Manager of the company’s Construction Machinery Section within its Construction Machinery & Industrial Machinery Department, will join BigRentz’s Board of Directors.
“The success of our portfolio stems from making long-term investments in areas where we can leverage our distinctive strengths and add value through organic growth,” said Masa.
“BigRentz has been on our radar for some time and believe it is positioned to make an impact in other rental markets throughout in the world.”
Itochu said its alliance with BigRentz will create additional value in construction equipment rental by leveraging their joint networks, IoT and big data.
BigRentz partners with more than 2,500 rental suppliers in the US, and has 25,000 users of its portal. It has a “digitally automated network” of more than 8,500 rental locations with $50 billion worth of rental assets.
Tokyo-based Itochu has 110 offices in 63 countries. Its acquisition strategy is to “buy, grow and keep”.