LOS ANGELES and SAN FRANCISCO -
The competition dealerships are facing to retail vehicles to consumers in two of California’s largest cities is becoming even more complicated thanks to a mobile startup looking to connect people who want to share their cars.
About a year after landing more than $40 million in capital, Getaround, the platform that founders said can empower users to instantly rent and drive vehicle shared by people in their city, now has expanded its presence in both Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Earlier this month, Getaround expanded into the city of Angels as the platform explained vehicle owners in Los Angeles can reduce the financial burden of ownership and even make some fun money by listing their vehicle on Getaround. Each vehicle is equipped with Getaround Connect, a proprietary technology that enables renters to locate and unlock the car using the Getaround app.
People in Los Angeles can now instantly rent nearby cars all through the Getaround iOS or Android application — no need to meet in person to get the car keys.
And then on Wednesday, Getaround, announced the upcoming launch of Uber Rent powered by Getaround, a carsharing option within the Uber App. Soon, Uber customers in San Francisco will be able to instantly find and rent vehicles shared on Getaround using the Uber app. Cars will be available to rent across the city, and users will be able to choose from low-emission sedans to sporty SUVs.
Uber Rent powered by Getaround will initially roll out in San Francisco.
While perhaps not directly targeting dealers looking to retail vehicles, Getaround is certainly looking to reduce the amount of units in operation.
Getaround believes carsharing is a major part of the environmental sustainability movement. An independent study by the University of California Berkeley Transportation Sustainability Research Center measured the impact of carsharing. The study found that for every one vehicle shared, about 10 are taken off the road. This means that for every 1,000 vehicles shared on Getaround, roughly 100 million pounds of carbon dioxide are offset.
And in densely populated locations like Los Angeles and San Francisco, Getaround has even higher hopes for a positive environmental impact.
“It’s an understatement to say that LA’s traffic and emissions are some of the worst in the country,” said James Correa, general manager for Getaround Los Angeles. “We’re excited to bring Getaround to LA and start taking cars off the road to help reduce congestion in our city.”
Correa helped the company soft launch Los Angeles in March, quickly onboarding the first 50 vehicle owners onto the platform. Many owners are earning over $1,000 per month already by sharing their car when it would otherwise be idle. With people in LA seeking transportation alternatives this spring and summer for road trips, apartment moves, and errand runs, now is the time for vehicle owners to list their cars and start earning money.
Getaround is dedicated to making the Los Angeles market successful and works closely with local governments to reduce congestion and emissions by encouraging designated parking spaces for carsharing communities. The company has office space in Culver City and has already hired over a dozen full-time and part-time employees. The team is also forging relationships with local auto body shops and automotive vendors.
What sets Getaround apart from competitors is that the company doesn’t own its fleet of vehicles. Each car is owned by a person who lives in the city. There are no signup fees, annual dues, or access cards, reducing the barriers for Los Angeles residents to try carsharing.
“As we expand and carsharing becomes universal, we’re not only providing people with access to transportation and economic opportunity, but we’re also helping cities solve environmental issues such as traffic, congestion and smog,” said Sam Zaid, chief executive officer of Getaround.
“We’re excited to become a part of the greater Los Angeles transportation network and to leverage our technology to create sustainable mobility options throughout the city,” Zaid continued.
And Zaid is also upbeat about what Getaround’s prospects in San Francisco could be.
Uber Rent powered by Getaround can enable Uber riders to instantly signup, reserve and unlock vehicles on the Getaround platform right from the Uber app. The two companies worked closely together to design the app experience and to integrate the Uber app seamlessly with Getaround. This builds on a previous partnership announced in May 2017 where people without cars can rent a rideshare-ready Getaround vehicle to drive with Uber and earn money.
“At Uber, we want to bring together multiple modes of transportation right in our app so we can give riders a viable alternative to personal car ownership,” said Jahan Khanna, head of product mobility at Uber. “We’re excited to partner with Getaround to bring carsharing to our rider app for the first time.”
Zaid then reiterated what Getaround’s objective is.
“Our mission is to empower people to carshare everywhere, and we’re making that possible by providing more people with access to carsharing through the apps they already use,” Zaid said. “Most of a person’s transportation needs can be met by coupling ridesharing for quick trips with carsharing for trips with multiple stops or longer getaways. It’s the perfect combination for people who have chosen to live car-free.”
These developments in Los Angeles and San Francisco arrived about a year after Getaround announced the company had raised $45 million in new capital. The Series C equity round was led by Braemar Energy Ventures, a venture capital firm specializing in energy technology with investments across the automotive space.
Also joining the round were Toyota Motor Corp., through its investment in SPARX Group, and SAIC Capital, the venture capital investment arm of Shanghai Automotive, as well as existing venture investors, including Menlo Ventures and Triangle Peak Partners.
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