Congratulations to CEO and founder of RelayRides, Shelby Clark, and his team for launching the neighbor-to-neighbor carsharing service to San Francisco, and counting Google Ventures and August Capital as backers. Here’s a snapshot of the story:
There’s a massive shift in society from ownership to access. For example, people are happy renting DVDs from Netflix vs. buying DVDs, AirBNB allows members to rent other member’s houses, and Chegg lets students rent textbooks. There’s even a movement and book “What’s mine is yours. The rise of collaborative consumption.” How about applying this to cars?
The combined cost of owning a car – fuel, maintenance, financing and insurance – amounts to an average of over $600 a month/$20 a day, according to AAA. Meanwhile, most cars sit idle for 23 hours a day.
Carsharing helps the environment: the average shared car takes 14 vehicles off the road, plus it reduces miles traveled, congestion, pollution, and lowers the carbon footprint to build new cars. Carsharing is a $12.5 billion global market and rapidly gaining popularity.
RelayRides brings this global carsharing trend to the hyperlocal level allowing neighbor-to-neighbor carsharing. Car owners feel good because they are helping their neighbor get around. Car borrowers feel good because they know they are helping their neighbor make money. It’s like they are supporting their local small business.
Wheels of Fortune:
RelayRides provides car owners a platform to safely lend their cars to their neighbors for a fee, while providing convenient, affordable access to neighbors who need the occasional use of vehicles. They make it possible by providing the insurance (a $1 million supplemental insurance policy covers the rental period) and technology for a safe, convenient, hassle-free transaction. Car owners make an average of $200/month.
Sharing is Caring:
Rather than putting new cars on the road like other carsharing services, the company goes the eco-friendly route by leveraging existing cars that are often idle. This allows neighbors to help each other as car owners can recover some of the costs of owning an expensive asset, while also providing a new transportation option for those in need of a car.
What users are saying:
Anthony Burdi, a 2009 Prius owner in Boston:
“It’s the perfect thing for me. It’s a good way to earn revenue from my car when I’m not using it, which helps me pay for gas, insurance and other running costs. At the same time, I’m helping a neighbor by providing them access to a car. I never thought of it and kind of wish I had, because it’s a great business to be in.”
Caterina Rindi, owner of a Toyota Prius, of San Francisco’s Potrero Hill neighborhood:
“Car sharing between neighbors is great for San Francisco, as it will lead to fewer new cars on the road, which will help decrease congestion and pollution. That’s why I’m delighted to make my Prius available via RelayRides – it’s good for me, for my neighbors, and for my city.”
Sent from my iPhone
There was a line up of slick and expensive cars on Sand Hill Road to turn into the street that housed the venerable Silicon Valley VC institution, August Capital. A crew of valet parking guys dressed in white ran up to each car to whisk them away while the crowd filtered into the expansive patio at August Capital to rub shoulders with the rich, the very rich and the soon-to-be-rich. Scanning the name cards, it seemed that every VC firm was represented and judging from the aura of money during the mingling, I think I was probably one of the poorest peeps there.
I saw VCs like Tim Draper from DFJ, Naren Gupta of Nexus (and plenty of others),and my tomodachi Howard Hartenbaum of August, plus entrepreneurs such as Gunnar Piening of Swoopo (one of August Capital’s portfolio companies), Josh Steinitz and John Monson of NileGuide (Howard invested while at Draper Richards), Gannon Hall of Kyte.tv and plenty of others. There was great food, great wine and great conversations. Hope I get invited next year too!
RelayRides also announced they are expanding throughout San Francisco and Boston proper, enabling more people to choose access over ownership.
One of the key differences in RelayRides neighbor-to-neighbor car sharing service is that it not only provides a $1 million per transaction insurance policy to car owners, but also provides security technology to give owners the assurance that their car won’t end up in the wrong hands.
Coverage highlights included:
Been thinking about getting your hands on that brand-spanking new Nintendo DSi that’s shipping this weekend ? Or how about replacing that fridge that keeps fritzing? Is it time to get a new bling watch? If you’ve got the patience and smarts to do a bit of homework and build your strategy, you could well land an incredible deal on brand-name, brand-new consumer goods at an average of 65% off MSRP at Swoopo. And while you score on Swoopo, Swoopo has scored funding with venerable August Capital, the venture capital firm behind such behemoths as Microsoft, Intuit, Seagate, Sun and Symantec.