|Headquarters||San Francisco, California|
|Nationwide in the US|
|Shelby Clark (Founder) & (Chief Community Officer), Andre Haddad (CEO)|
|Services||Car sharing, car rentals, cars, car sharing|
Number of employees
Car owners can set their own prices, and the company takes 25%. The service launched in Boston in summer 2010, in late 2010 it expanded to San Francisco, and in March 2012 it launched nationwide in the US. It has received $52.5M in funding from Canaan Partners, August Capital, Google Ventures, Shasta Ventures, and Trinity Ventures.
The peer-to-peer carsharing concept of RelayRides was inspired by similar online marketplaces such as Airbnb and eBay. Founder Shelby Clark proposed a peer-to-peer model because "we already have this massive resource in our communities" of underutilized vehicles. He added, "It’s for the community, by the community." The peer-to-peer setup also results in reduced rental costs as compared to car sharing services.
While the company originally focused on short-term, hourly car rentals, over time the company witnessed the vast majority of its growth being driven by longer duration rentals of 1 day or more. In 2013, RelayRides discontinued support for hourly pricing of car rentals and turned its focus to long duration rentals.
How it works
Unlike traditional car rental services, RelayRides neither owns the vehicles nor maintains them. Rather, they are offering a platform for car owners and renters to connect generating scalability and lower pricing." They provide a platform that tracks the cars and matches prospective borrowers to car owners.
People who wish to profit from their cars while they're not being used can register the cars online to be borrowed by other RelayRides members.
To make the car available, a car owner that has signed up for RelayRides signs onto the network and states the time and place where the car will be available. A member who wishes to borrow a car will reserve a specific time slot for the car online, and pays for the amount of time they signed up for.
RelayRides provides a $1 million liability insurance to every owner for the rental period, and performs basic background checks of vehicle registration and safety, as well as renters’ driving records.
RelayRides offers insurance packages to renters to cover damage to vehicles. RelayRides is not a licensed rental car company, and therefore credit cards typically do not extend their usual rental car damage insurance to rentals through the RelayRides marketplace.
RelayRides insurance packages offer deductibles of $500 or $2500. This compares to zero deductible coverage offered through most credit card companies for cars rented from licensed rental companies. Damage to a rental vehicle obtained through RelayRides, which is not a licensed rental company, is therefore likely to cost more than damage to a car rented with a major credit card.
A major credit card, answers to 6 or more questions to prove your identity, followed by a picture of you, you with your license, and your credit card. And of course a smart phone to do all the above. Drivers as young as 21 (with two years of driving experience) may use the service. RelayRides performs background checks on all potential borrowers, and drivers of any age are deemed ineligible and will not be accepted if they have any of the following in their driving record:
- More than 2 speeding violations within the past 3 years, or more than 1 speeding violation within the past year.
- A speeding violation that was more than 20 mph over the speed limit
- Two or more red light (or stop sign) violations
- Reckless driving
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
- Vehicular manslaughter.
Shelby Clark founded RelayRides in 2009, along with Harvard Business School classmates Nabeel Al-Kady and Tara Reeves, but the service was first launched in June 2010, in Boston.
In late 2010, RelayRides expanded to San Francisco, CA, where it is now headquartered.
In March 2012, RelayRides launched nationwide in the US.
In 2013, RelayRides partnered with major automaker GM and their OnStar division partnering to enable car renters to unlock GM cars with their mobile phones.
In September 2013, RelayRides announced they would be discontinuing their Onstar technology integration to strategically focus on the fastest growing part of their business, long duration car rentals.
In May 2013, RelayRides acquired Wheelz, one of its competitors.
In June 2014, RelayRides raised $25 Million in funding led by Canaan Partners.
Operations in New York State
In May 2013, the NY Department of Finance issued a scam alert warning consumers that RelayRides has been misrepresenting insurance coverage for users of its program and issued a cease-and-desist letter ordering RelayRides to stop operations in New York. RelayRides complied by immediately suspending operations. After a subsequent investigation, in March 2014, RelayRides was fined $200,000 by New York state for false advertising, unlicensed insurance activity, and other violations. RelayRides operations in New York remain suspended.
- Alternatives to the automobile
- Car rental
- Car Sharing
- Peer-to-peer carsharing
- Momo car-sharing European demonstration project on carsharing
- "Video - Make money letting others drive your car". CNN.com. 2010-04-29. Retrieved 2010-06-01.
- Kirsner, Scott (2010-04-12). "RelayRides: Like Zipcar without the car fleet". Boston.com. Retrieved 2010-06-01.
- "Car-sharing revs up: Teaming up with the Joneses". The Economist. 2010-04-22. Retrieved 2010-06-01.
- Levy, Ari (2011-01-07). "Zipcar competitor RelayRides comes to S.F". The San Francisco Chronicle.
- Lawler, Ryan (2014-06-24). "Car-Sharing Startup RelayRides Raises $25 Million In Funding Led By Canaan Partners". TechCrunch.
- Lynley, Matthew (2010-12-14). "Google Drops Bank in RelayRides to Turn Your Car Into a Zipcar". The New York Times.
- Lawler, Ryan (2014-08-12). "RelayRides Adds $10 Million From Trinity And Looks To Expand Peer-To-Peer Airport Rentals". TechCrunch.
- Ken Belson (2010-09-10). "Baby, You Can Rent My Car". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-09-10.
- RelayRides, Out to Be the Community-Powered Zipcar, Hits the Ground With Pilot Rental Program | Xconomy
- RelayRides challenges Zipcar, marketing with teams on foot | Cambridge Day
- "Long-Duration Rentals Fuel 3X Growth at RelayRides in 2013". http://blog.relayrides.com. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
- "RelayRides launches first peer-to-peer carsharing service". Venturebeat: Interpreting Innovation.
- Gansky, Lisa (2010). The Mesh.
- Rogers, Roo, Botsman, Rachel (2010). What's Mine is Yours.
- "How it Works: Borrowers". RelayRides.
- RelayRides. "Insurance". RelayRides. RelayRides.
- "Common Questions". RelayRides.
- "GM + RelayRides". RelayRides.
- "Long Duration Rentals Fuel 3x Growth at RelayRides". RelayRides.
- Lawler, Ryan (2013-05-14). "RelayRides Acquires Wheelz To Boost Inventory And Improve Hardware For Its Peer-To-Peer Car Rentals". TechCrunch.
- "Scam Alert: New York Consumers Should Not Participate in Relay Rides' Online Car-Sharing Program Until Further Notice". New York Department of Financial Services.
- "SUPERINTENDENT LAWSKY ORDERS ‘RELAYRIDES’ CAR-SHARING SERVICE TO CEASE AND DESIST ITS REPEATED FALSE ADVERTISING AND VIOLATIONS OF INSURANCE LAW, COMPANY WILL STOP DOING BUSINESS IN NEW YORK UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE". New York State Department of Financial Services.
- "Suspending New Rentals in NY". RelayRides.
- "CUOMO ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES 'RELAYRIDES' CAR-SHARING SERVICE TO PAY $200,000 PENALTY FOR INSURANCE LAW AND OTHER VIOLATIONS". New York Department of Financial Services.