Economics / Transportation

Rent your neighbor’s car: Venture-backed Getaround launches in Philly

Tap the app, rent a stranger's car. Will it take off in Philly or is it doomed to fail here?

San Francisco-based Getaround has two pretty simple pitches at the buzzy intersection of cars and tech:

  • Do you own a car? Rent it to strangers via the Getaround app and make money.
  • Do you want a car? Get on the app and rent other people’s idle cars by the hour.

The venture-backed company today announced it has launched its platform in Philly, the 15th market for the company, with an initial slate of 20 cars available to rent in Center City, North Philly and South Philly.

The expansion comes three months after the company’s $45 million Series C led by Braemar Energy Ventures and with participation from Toyota Motor Corp and China’s SAIC Motor.

Patrick Notti, regional manager for the West Coast company, told that Philadelphia was a key market for Getaround’s East Coast strategy. The brand is up and running in Boston, Jersey City, N.J., and Washington, D.C.

“Philly’s a key piece to our footprint,” Notti said. “It helps round out the Northeast Corridor, where there are lots of densely populated cities and people looking to have access to cars. We look forward to Philly being a successful market for us.”

Why would people rent a car from strangers and not traditional car rentals like Avis or the more modern Zipcar?

Notti said it’s the ability to rent cars on-demand by the hour, accessible through its Connect TM technology, a hardware/software combo that lets renters locate and unlock cars using their phone.

For drivers, there’s a $1 million insurance policy securing each trip, Notti said.

“It’s key to us that both renters and owners feel safe,”  the manager said. “If anything were to happen during the trip, their insurance isn’t even touched.”

The company employs around 120 people, mostly at its West Coast hub. It will be setting up a local team and has named an interim General Manager for Philly in Nick Tenekedes, who’s based in Chicago.

“We’re thrilled to add instant carsharing to Philadelphia as we expand further into the Northeast, and are ready to empower Philadelphia car owners to start sharing now,” Tenekedes said.


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