A start-up car sharing service has received lots of interest from investors. But will drivers be willing to share their cars with complete strangers?
Many people insist on buying cars that rarely get used, with congestion on the roads meaning it’s better to take public transport. Solving the problem of this wastage, and potentially saving drivers a lot of money, may have been achieved by a group of new start-ups. So-called peer to peer car sharing services allow drivers to lease out their private cars to other drivers when they’re not in use.
Getaround, a US firm recently set up, has received a lot of interest from investors like Google CEO Eric Schmidt and actor Ashton Kutcher, with an initial round of fundraising seeing $13.9m pumped into the company. Another firm, RelaRides, has also seen investment from Google and General Motors.
Menlo Ventures, who led the investment into Getaround, thinks the opportunities of this new business model are huge. Partner Shervin Pishevar, who is set to join the board of Getaround, said: “Most cars are only used eight percent of the time. This is incredible waste happening each and every day across the world, and Getaround solves this problem beautifully.”
The idea seems sound, but the initial set up costs of installing the technology, as well as sharing the insurance, might deter car-owners. If it’s successful, however, car rental companies may see a great deal of competition from this new sector while the auto industry might see a reduction in sales from people that don’t require their own car. For drivers, this may mean finding a parking space will become a lot easier.