Airbnb-for-cars rolls out in San Diego with Getaround launch


In the latest spin on car-sharing, San Diegans will now be able to rent out their vehicles AirBnb-style to make extra cash. San Francisco tech company Getaround is rolling out its app in the city Thursday, with more than 10,000 local users already signed up to join.

The fast-growing startup made headlines this summer when it raised a massive $300 million round of financing, which it’s put to work these past few months by entering new markets such as Philadelphia, Miami, and now San Diego.

With Getaround, car owners can share their car with renters for quick trips — sightseeing, a trek to IKEA, a weekend outing. Car owners make money by charging hourly and day rates, determined with the help of the Getaround app, which takes into account demand, car type, and other features to suggest appropriate rates.

Those looking to quickly rent a car can avoid the common headaches of car rental agencies: no lines, no up-sells. Getaround includes insurance of up to $1 million on every single ride, said James Correa, Getaround General Manager of Southern California. The cost of that insurance is already baked in to the rental price.

“We consider it a cost of doing business,” Correa said. “As far as the price goes, what you see is what you get.”

Users can browse available cars in their region through the Getaround app (available on Android and iOS). Once booked, users can unlock cars through the app — without a key and without ever needing to meet the owner. To achieve this, Getaround places a patented device into every car listed on their platform. The device allows keyless entry, and also gives the owner convenience and safety features like keyless entry and vehicle tracking.

To be eligible to list your car on the app, cars need to be made in 2006 or newer with fewer than 125,000 miles, Correa said.

Nationally, Getaround has 1 million users and recently partnered with ride-hailing giant Uber last year. The duo is piloting the idea of Uber Rent in San Francisco, allowing users to rent Getaround cars on the Uber platform.

The concept of peer-to-peer car-sharing for the rental market is fairly new, but Getaround isn’t alone in the space. As the idea gains popularity, some companies are getting pushback from the markets they’re trying to disrupt. One competitor, San Francisco-based Turo, has been in a few squabbles with the City of San Francisco and Utah rental companies.

Correa said Getaround hasn’t had any such altercations yet. He also prefers not to think of Getaround as a competitor to car rental agencies, rather belonging to a new category of alternative transportation.

“We are a completely different mobility solution that’s part of an ecosystem of scooters, bikeshare and public transportation,” Correa said.

Founded in 2009, Getaround has raised a total of $400 million and now employs 200 people worldwide.

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