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Type Private
Industry Car sharing
Founded 2010 (2010)
Boston, Massachusetts
Founder(s) Shelby Clark
Headquarters San Francisco, California
Area served Nationwide in the US
Key people Shelby Clark (Founder) & (Chief Community Officer), Andre Haddad (CEO)
Products car rentals, cars, car sharing
Services Car sharing, car rentals, cars, car sharing
Employees 36

RelayRides is a peer-to-peer carsharing service. It allows private car-owners to rent out their vehicles via an online interface.[1]

Car owners can set their own prices, and the company takes 25%.[2] The service launched in Boston in summer 2010,[3] in late 2010 it expanded to San Francisco,[4] and in March 2012, It launched nationwide in the US. It has received $19M in funding from General Motors Ventures,[5] Google Ventures[6] and others.

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.[7] 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.[8]

The average vehicle owner makes $250/mo, with top owners making well over $1k/mo+.[9] Daily rental rates typically range from $30 to $50.

The carsharing concept of RelayRides was inspired by similar services such as Zipcar. However, founder Shelby Clark proposed a peer-to-peer model because "we already have this massive resource in our communities" of underutilized vehicles.[10][11] He added, "It’s for the community, by the community."[11] The peer-to-peer setup also results in reduced rental costs as compared to car sharing services.[10][12]

How it works[edit]

"Unlike traditional car rental services, relay rides has no customer support. They also have no phone lines if you need to use a telephone. They are only available via the internet. and if you should e-mail them, their answers make no sense or they ask you the same questions repeatedly. 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."[13] They provide a platform that tracks the cars and matches prospective borrowers to car owners.[14] RelayRides covers $1 million worth of insurance for vehicles during the rental period,[15] and performs basic background checks of vehicle registration and safety, as well as renters’ safety records, to lessen the likelihood of complications between the owner and borrower of the vehicle.[3]

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.[1]

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.[14] A member who wishes to borrow a car will reserve a specific time slot for the car online,[16] and pays for the amount of time they signed up for.[17]


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.[18] 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:[18]

  • 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Video - Make money letting others drive your car". 2010-04-29. Retrieved 2010-06-01. 
  2. ^ Kirsner, Scott (2010-04-12). "RelayRides: Like Zipcar without the car fleet". Retrieved 2010-06-01. 
  3. ^ a b "Car-sharing revs up: Teaming up with the Joneses". The Economist. 2010-04-22. Retrieved 2010-06-01. 
  4. ^ Levy, Ari (2011-01-07). "Zipcar competitor RelayRides comes to S.F". The San Francisco Chronicle. 
  5. ^ "RelayRides Series A.3 Funding Up to $13 Million, GM Ventures Joins Google Ventures, August Capital, Shasta Ventures as Backers". PR Newswire. 2011-10-26. 
  6. ^ Lynley, Matthew (2010-12-14). "Google Drops Bank in RelayRides to Turn Your Car Into a Zipcar". The New York Times. 
  7. ^ "GM + RelayRides". RelayRides. 
  8. ^ "Long Duration Rentals Fuel 3x Growth at RelayRides". RelayRides. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b Ken Belson (2010-09-10). "Baby, You Can Rent My Car". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-09-10. 
  11. ^ a b RelayRides, Out to Be the Community-Powered Zipcar, Hits the Ground With Pilot Rental Program | Xconomy
  12. ^ RelayRides challenges Zipcar, marketing with teams on foot | Cambridge Day
  13. ^ "RelayRides launches first peer-to-peer carsharing service". Venturebeat: Interpreting Innovation. 
  14. ^ a b Gansky, Lisa (2010). The Mesh. 
  15. ^ "RelayRides Lets You Unlock Your Neighbor’s Car with Your CharlieCard". Bostinnovation. 
  16. ^ Rogers, Roo, Botsman, Rachel (2010). What's Mine is Yours. 
  17. ^ "How it Works: Borrowers". RelayRides. 
  18. ^ a b "Common Questions". RelayRides. 

External links[edit]