RelayRides sounds a little bit like Uber (it’s a startup with cars) and a little bit more like Airbnb (it’s a startup with people loaning each other cars). In today’s tech world, that’s a pretty good formula for raising venture capital.
RelayRides, which facilitates the renting out of your car to other people, has been around for four years and now focuses only on providing long-term (the minimum is a day) rentals where the owner and renter meet in person to size each other up and exchange the car keys. That’s a far cry from earlier versions that facilitated hourly rentals with automated entry, which competitor Getaround still does.
So now RelayRides has raised $25 million in Series B funding, for a total of $44 million raised, led by Canaan Partners with existing investors August Capital, Google Ventures and Shasta Ventures.
That’s not to say RelayRides is huge, though CEO Andre Haddad maintains the company is now growing extremely fast, having fully focused on the right model last October. The company only has “several hundred thousand” registered users, Haddad said. He would not specify how many of those users have logged in recently. “We’re still quite early, to be honest with you,” Haddad said.
San Francisco-based RelayRides now does half its business at airports, and half in cities, all in the United States. It takes a 25 percent cut of transactions. It says its prices are 40 percent lower than traditional car-rental companies. The company has experimented with a more hands-on approach at San Francisco International Airport, where travelers can get free parking and valet service for lending their cars out while they are away.
With the new funding in hand, 50-person RelayRides will now turn to getting the word out. “Priority number one is to raise the awareness of the brand,” Haddad said.
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