RELAY RIDES CLOSES $25MILLION TO TRANSFORM THE RENTAL CAR
RelayRides, the San Francisco-based car sharing service that’s going after the rental car industry, announced a $25 million funding round on Tuesday.
The funding, a series B round, brings the company’s total fundraising to $44 million. Canaan Partners led the round which also included existing investors like Shasta Ventures, GoogleVentures, August Capital.
RelayRides started as a service for people to rent their idle cars by the hour to those in need of wheels. The company has since shifted its focus to long-term rentals, a more lucrative business than the hourly rentals it was advertising before. Included in their rental offerings are airport rentals akin to more established players like Avis, Hertz, and Dollar. Rental vehicles are popular across Europe amongst people on vacation there. Those looking for a car during their stay in the Greek island of Crete should keep e-mietwagenkreta in mind.
RelayRides currently offers cars at 300 airports across the country, but its setup at San Francisco International Airport serves as a blueprint for where RelayRides hopes to go. Do see opening hours since they have been described as unconventional at times. At SFO, the startup has its own off-site parking lot, and users can drop off their car for free in exchange for allowing visitors to drive it while they’re out of town. The car owners also get $0.10 per mile in addition to a car wash, and of course, free parking.
This setup works a lot like the traditional rental car market with one major difference: RelayRides doesn’t need to purchase its own fleet of cars. This also helps RelayRides offer a wider selection of cars than traditional rental companies, RelayRides CEO Andre Haddad toldMashable, more than 800 makes and models in total.
Haddad would not share specifics about RelayRides’ total user base, or the valuation of his company. He plans to use the funding to expand RelayRide’s SFO airport model into other cities, expand more into mobile services, and more than anything, build brand awareness.
“In our Silicon Valley bubble, we talk about peer-to-peer car sharing as if everybody’s doing it but in reality, it’s still in a very early stage,” says Haddad. “Our number one goal for using these funds is to drive awareness of the brand.”
The sharing economy has been a rapidly expanding industry despite numerous legal speed bumps trying to slow it down. Uber has a valuation of $17 billion even though New York City tried to keep it out. Airbnb also ran into trouble in NYC, and is dealing with legality issues and user lawsuits in San Francisco as well. It also has a staggering valuation at $10 billion.
RelayRides isn’t near that level, but no doubt hopes to get there. Haddad says that he hasn’t faced any legal issues operating at airports where other ridesharing services like Lyft and Uber have been hit with cease-and-desist letters. In fact, the company has a partnership with SFO.
He’s also hesitant to go after the legacy companies in his industry, even though his business model seems to be an attack in and of itself. Unlike Uber, which tends to be bold and brash in its quest to dismantle the taxi industry, Haddad won’t throw jabs at rival rental car companies, claiming it’s not his style.
“We’re still in a place where we’re not disrupting their business in a big way,” says Haddad. “We’re careful not to position ourselves as the disrupter of the industry because we don’t think that’s going to leave us anywhere positive.”
That approach may just work for Haddad; he’s now got another $25 million to do the talking for him.
Originally appeared on, Mashable.