Car-Sharing Platform Getaround Raises $300 Million in Latest Funding Round
【Summary】Uber made is easy for anyone with the company’s app to summon a ride on-demand, making it possible to forgo personal car ownership in many cities. A relatively new startup called Getaround, expands transportation options even further, with it peer-to-peer vehicle sharing service that let people rent their cars to strangers. The company secured significant new funding to expand its services to additional U.S. cities.
Uber made is easy for anyone with the company's app to summon a ride on-demand, making it possible to forgo personal car ownership in many cities. A relatively new startup called Getaround expands transportation options even further, with its peer-to-peer vehicle sharing service that let people rent their cars to strangers. The company has secured significant new funding to expand its services to additional U.S. cities.
The San Francisco-based company announced it raised $300 million in Series D funding led by SoftBank Group. Toyota also participated in the latest financing round. To date, Getaround has raised around $400 million in capital.
"We are confident in our product, playbook, and team," Sam Zaid, Getaround founder and CEO said in a statement. "We look forward to leading the growth of next-generation car-sharing."
Since the company was launched in 2010, Getaround has expanded its car-sharing network to include several thousand vehicles in 66 U.S. cities. The company operates its car-sharing service in major cities such as San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and Seattle.
The investment comes just months after Softbank agreed to buy a 20 percent stake in GM's autonomous vehicle subsidiary Cruise Holdings for $2.25 billion. In addition, SoftBank also has invested $9.3 billion in Uber, making it the ride-hailing company's largest investor.
The $100 billion Softbank Vision Fund, started in 2017, invests in emerging technologies including battery-powered cars and green technologies. Its partners include Apple, Foxconn, Sharp, and Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund.
"SoftBank sees carsharing as an accelerating trend that will disrupt car ownership", said Michael Ronen, managing partner of SoftBank Investment Advisers.
Getaround's business model allows car owners to rent out their cars when their not using it. Car owners get extra cash instead of their car sitting idle in the garage or driveway. Another benefit is that renters get access to rental cars locally, instead of visiting a car rental office across town.
To make a available for rent, Getaround requires owners to install a device called the Getaround Connect, which allows renters to unlock and start the car without the key present. Installation of the Connect device costs $99.
Once the Connect device is installed, owners listing their vehicle on the platform car pay a $20 monthly fee to keep it updated and activated. Getaround also insures each rental with a $1 million policy, so renting your expensive car to a stranger comes with some extra piece of mind.
There is no need for the car's owner to be present to rent the car.
Getaround's CEO believes the combination of the hardware device and the app making it a seamless way to rent any Getaround vehicle by walking right up to it and unlocking it with a smartphone app is what sets it apart from competitors.
Car-sharing and ride-hailing services have become more popular recently and are expected to eventually lead to a decrease in personal car ownership, which is why they are attractive investments for automakers as a way to hedge against declining car sales.
One of the most well known car-sharing companies is Zipcar, with more than 12,000 vehicles available for people to rent. Daimler's subsidiary Car2Go and GM subsidiary Maven are also offering car rental services.
Originally from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley. Eric has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology. Outside of work, Eric likes to travel to new places, play guitar, and explore the outdoors.
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