RelayRides launches in San Francisco

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:

The trend:
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 situation:
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.

The opportunity:
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.

The solution:
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.

Good company:
Google Ventures and August Capital funded RelayRides.

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.”

Kathy Johnson

About Kathy Johnson

Kathy is the co-founder of Consort Partners PR. As the first spokesperson and co-founder of Blinkx.tv (publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange), she generated extensive media coverage for the company in sources including CNN, NBC, BBC, CBS, Fast Company, Business Week, SF Chronicle, Boston Globe, NY Times, Die Welt, and many others through the U.S., U.K., Europe and Japan. From these early relationships with reporters, venture capitalists, and influencers, Consort Partners PR was born in 2005. Kathy has also served as an advisor to Japan’s Prime Minister Koizumi for FDI & Tourism, voted "2004 Agenda Setter" by silicon.com alongside Steve Jobs, Meg Whitman, and Chinese Premier Hu Jintao, and was nominated for 2008 Lifetime Achievement Stevie Award. Hobbies include painting running, painting, bird feeding, and eating.