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Meet Getaround, an Online Car Sharing Platform Making it Easy for People to Rent Cars- Startup Story #46

By Guest User 10th March 2016
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Getaround is a peer to peer car sharing platform serving the urban areas of San Francisco Bay Area, San Diego, Austin, Portland and Chicago. Getaround is based on the idea that there are more than 1 billion cars in the world and majority of them sit idle for as long as 22 hours a day. Sam Zaid and Jessica Scorpio came up with a solution to this problem by founding Getaround.

Getaround collaborates car owners with those who want to get a car on rent. Car owners can create profile for their cars and decide if they want to rent it out on weekly, hourly or daily basis. GetAround has constantly grown since its launch and further plans to expand to even more cities. Here are some facts about Getaround.

Getaround Facts:

Startup Vertical: Peer to peer car sharing

Headquarters: San Francisco.

Funding Received: $41.3M. (Till March, 2015).

Founders: Sam Zaid, Jessica Scorpio and Elliot Kroo.

Slogan: Empowering people to car share everywhere.

We had a conversation with Sam Zaid and Jessica Scorpio about their innovative startup, here’s all they said.

Q) Starting a peer-to-peer car sharing marketplace platform is definitely a great idea. Tell us little about Getaround and your personal motivation for starting this marketplace?

GetAround empowers people to instantly share cars by the hour and by the day. Combining  GetAround Connect™, our patented connected car technology, with auto insurance coverage backed by Assurant, GetAround creates a seamless and fun, sharing experience. It’s free to join and for as little as $5 an hour, Getaround members can conveniently rent nearby cars and save money on auto payments, insurance and maintenance. Owners share cars ranging from a smartcar to a Tesla earning thousands in extra income each year to offset the high cost of car ownership, while making a positive impact on the environment.

While attending Singularity University, Sam Zaid (CEO) and Jessica Scorpio (VP Marketing) were given a challenge by Larry Page to positively impact one billion people in ten years. In looking at the future of transportation, we realized our current model is unsustainable. There are one billion cars in the world, and each car sits idle 22 hours each day—we decided to focus all of our efforts of solving this problem we call “car overpopulation”. Instead of adding more cars to our streets, we decided to maximize what is already available – and Getaround was born. We launched at and won TechCrunch Disrupt in May 2011.

Q) Can you give us a rundown of how it works?

Renters can search for cars nearby using Getaround’s iPhone and Android apps or our website and can instantly book available cars without waiting for owner approval and can locate and unlock the car as soon as their trip begins.

Once a car has been equipped with a Getaround Connect – owners simply need to manage their car’s availability through the app, noting any times the car will not be available for sharing. When their car is booked, owners receive a notification confirming the trip.

Q) What is the value proposition you are offering to customers?

To car owners we are offering an easy and safe way to monetize their vehicle.

To people looking to rent a car, we offer a variety of cars close to them. We offer ease, convenience and affordability.

Q) What is one particular Marketing Tool or process which you swear by, that has helped you gain more users on the platform?

We see a ton of new users through word-of-mouth referrals, and if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Getaround lets car owners earn all this extra money each month just by sharing their car – when they receive their first paycheck in the mail, they have a tendency to tell the world about this great thing they discovered.

This has always been a big “channel” for us and we’re constantly working to improve our referral program – how and when to surface it to users and integrating into our product and apps.

Q) How did you go about getting car owners on your platform?

Our first few car owners came through a small test right we set up at Singularity University when we were first testing our idea. We wanted to know if, given the chance, would strangers really share cars, we had a really positive response.

Q) What are your future plans? Are you planning to integrate more features in the service?

We are always working to refine and improve our operational efficiencies and product experience, especially as we continue to expand and bring Getaround to new communities. Our vision is to not only empower people to share cars everywhere, but also to make sharing a car on Getaround smarter and easier than simply owning a car. In the near future we plan on adding more options for dedicated parking, car services and car owner perks.

Q) What is Getaround’s biggest achievement to date? How did you go about accomplishing this?

We’re proud to have a long list of big achievements. Our biggest this year was launching Getaround in 10 cities. We did this through thorough research into which cities could most benefit from car sharing. In Chicago in particular, we were granted a federal grant to study the impact car sharing in the region.

Q) Where do you see Getaround in five years?

In five years we expect to see a lot more growth and expansion. We have refined our market launch strategy this year and are looking forward to bringing Getaround to more communities in the US and internationally.

In addition to expanding to new cities, we are expanding our fleet of cars. Our goal just for 2016 is to have over 5,000 cars on Getaround, well towards our objective of becoming the largest on demand car sharing company in North America. 

Q) Any advice for startups trying to make it big as a marketplace model?

Don’t let old mindsets get in the way of your success. From the beginning of Getaround, we faced a series of daunting obstacles that needed to be tackled head on: insurance and legislation were the biggest ones.

When insurance companies weren’t listening to us, we changed gears to work with legislators and eventually helped pass AB 1871 in California, it says that when participating in a personal-vehicle-sharing program, the car owner’s insurance is never going to be affected. That’s really what tipped the scales and made Berkshire Hathaway feel comfortable insuring us.

Wanted to create a similar business? Don’t worry, Jungleworks is here for you.

Jungleworks offers a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) system, such as Online Marketplaces, Delivery Optimization software and Marketing Automation software that allows users to create a new product using the SaaS’s abilities and features without writing even a single line of code, designing, and testing.

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