Getaround Aims to Tackle “Car Overpopulation”

6/7/12Follow @xconomy

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$300 and $400 a month. “Being able to offset the cost of your car is really compelling,” Scorpio says. “A few hundred to thousands of dollars per month really makes a difference for people.”

Car lenders can also set parameters for the hours they’re willing to share, check out their potential renters, and decide who they want to drive their cars. The owner of a Sunnyvale-based yellow 2008 Tesla Roaster, for example, is only willing to rent to members over 30 with clean driving records. (Getaround does records checks for all of its members, uses Facebook Connect to make sure they are using their real names, and has a 24-hour hotline for owners and renters.)

Car renters can browse their different options, almost like dating profiles, with ratings, photos and information about the cars, then pick one that fits the right aesthetic and price range. One black Volkswagen Beetle in San Francisco, for example, costs potential renters $5.50 an hour, while a white Toyota Rav4, also listed in San Francisco goes for $10. The Tesla goes for $75 an hour.

Investors came shortly after the Disrupt win. In September of 2011, the company raised $3.4 million in seed funding from investors including Redpoint Ventures, General Catalyst Partners, Venture 51, CrunchFund, and angels like Marc Randolph and Vivi Nevo.

“It felt slow, because we had a lot of hurdles like the insurance, but it’s been moving fast the whole time,” Scorpio says. “I didn’t know what to expect. It’s been an amazing learning experience.”

In December of last year, Getaround picked up a $1,725,000 grant from the Federal Highway Administration to expand in Portland. It’s a joint project with the city, and the company will also partner with the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium to research the impact of car sharing, and how it can expand across the country. It’s a direct continuation of the cofounders’ original goal: to reduce the planet’s car population.

But their biggest challenge is the same: convincing people to change the way they think about cars.

“Our main competitor is car ownership,” Scorpio says. “People often see ‘one car, one driver’ as the norm, and that’s what we’re going up against.”

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