Ford Ka
Ford begins export of India-made KA (Figo) to Europe. Pictured: Ford

Zoomcar, the self-drive car rental company, closed $24 million funding led by Ford Smart Mobility, along with Sequoia Capital, Nokia Growth Partners, Empire Angels and Reliance Venture Asset Management, according to start-up database Crunchbase.

The deal was earlier announced in July this year. This funding round, which marks Ford Smart Mobility's first investment in an Indian start-up, takes Zoomcar's total equity fund to $45.2 million. Zoomcar had raised over $21million from four previous rounds.

The Bengaluru-based car rental start-up, which currently claims to house 1,600 plus cars and more than nine lakh users, said Ford provided most of the vehicles in its fleet.

In June, the company had switched to marketplace model aiming at profitability by 2017. The marketplace model, called ZAP, which allows Zoomcar users and other individuals to lease their car to the company on a revenue-sharing basis.

"With this capital we plan on expanding our Zoomcar Associate Program (ZAP) which allows users to buy cars registered in the name of Zoomcar," Zoomcar CEO Greg Moran said.

The marketplace model is expected to help the car rental firm to scale up its fleet rapidly without having to acquire new assets (cars), saving considerable amount of money if the program becomes successful. The company, which has a stronghold in metro cities, looks to expand to tier-2 and tier-3 cities, according to Moran.

"As Ford expands its business to be both an auto and mobility company, we are pursuing a long-term vision to develop services and solutions that make it easier for consumers to move through cities using multiple modes of transportation," said John Larsen, Ford Asia Pacific Mobility director.

Ford is also active in scouting technology start-ups that could contribute to self-driving or autonomous cars. The auto major has partnered with Chinese web services firm Baidu to invest $150 million in Velodyne, a manufacturer of Light Detection and Ranging sensors technology used in self-driving cars.