Turo (car rental)

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IndustryCar sharing
FoundedJune 2010; 9 years ago (2010-06)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
FounderShelby Clark
HeadquartersSan Francisco, California, U.S.
Area served
United States (except state of NY), Canada, the UK and Germany
Key people
Shelby Clark (Founder & Chief Community Officer), Andre Haddad (CEO)
Number of employees

Turo, formerly RelayRides, is an American peer-to-peer carsharing company. The company allows private car owners to rent out their vehicles via an online and mobile interface.

In 2017, according to Turo, four million users had registered to use the service and 170,000 privately owned cars were available for rental.[2] The company is based in San Francisco. From 2013 to 2014, RelayRides (as Turo was known then) was the subject of an investigation in New York over violations of state vehicle insurance law that resulted in $200,000 in fines.


RelayRides was launched in Boston in June 2010.[3] The peer-to-peer carsharing concept was inspired by similar online marketplaces such as Airbnb and eBay. In late 2010, the company expanded to San Francisco, where it is now headquartered.[4] In 2012 it, launched nationwide in the US.[5]

Initially, renting a car through RelayRides required installing an in-car device that enabled GPS monitoring, remote unlocking, and smart card entry, similar to ZipCar. In 2012, Turo partnered with major automaker General Motors and their OnStar division with the goal of enabling renters to unlock GM cars with their mobile phones without installing additional technology.[6] In 2013, however, RelayRides discontinued both its in-car device and its Onstar technology integration in favor of in-person key exchange.[7]

From 2010 to 2014, RelayRides received $52.5 million in funding from Canaan Partners,[8] August Capital, Google Ventures,[9] Shasta Ventures, and Trinity Ventures.[10]

In November 2015, RelayRides changed its name to Turo in order, the company said, to reflect the company’s shift away from short-term to long-term rentals.[11] Forbes included it among 14 "hottest on-demand startups" in 2015, with a valuation of $311 million.[12]

In June 2018, Turo announced plans to offer a new in-car device allowing GPS monitoring and remote unlocking through the Turo app.[13]

In 2016 and 2017, Turo launched in three Canadian provinces: Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec.[14][15][16] Also in 2016, Turo launched in the United Kingdom.[1]

Forbidding car owners from listing their cars on other platforms[edit]

In 2019, Turo updated their terms of service to prevent hosts from sharing their car on any other car-sharing service. Turo declared that "failure to abide by this condition may result in fines, penalties, denial of physical damage claim, removal of the vehicle from the Services, account closure, or other action, in Turo’s sole discretion." The change is to be formally implemented on July 15, 2019. [17] Avoiding claims that this could be "failure to deal" or reduction in competition, they stated that their service "tends" to perform badly when dealing with other companies' booking software[18]

Unlicensed insurance activity in the state of New York[edit]

In May 2013, the New York State Department of Financial Services issued a consumer alert, warning that RelayRides misrepresented insurance coverage for users of its program.[19] New York issued a cease-and-desist letter ordering RelayRides to stop operations, and RelayRides suspended operations in the state.[20][21] RelayRides was fined $200,000 for false advertising, engaging in unlicensed insurance activity, and other violations.[22]


Unlike traditional car-rental services, Turo does not own or maintain any cars. The company offers a platform by which car owners can rent their cars.[23] Turo claims its platform reduces rental costs compared to traditional car rental services.[24][25]

People who wish to rent their cars can register their cars online to be rented by other Turo members. The car owner states when and where the car will be available. A Turo member who wants to rent a car reserves a specific time slot for the car online. Turo takes 10 to 35 percent of rental income, depending on the insurance coverage it provides the car owner.[26] and pays for the amount of time they signed up for.[27] [28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Price, Rob; UK, Business Insider (2016-12-16). "but there's a catch". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  2. ^ "Peer-to-peer car sharing start-up Turo heads to Germany". USA TODAY. 2017-09-06. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  3. ^ "Car-sharing revs up: Teaming up with the Joneses". The Economist. 2010-04-22. Retrieved 2016-01-20.
  4. ^ Levy, Ari (2010-12-14). "Zipcar competitor RelayRides comes to S.F." SFGate.
  5. ^ Anthony Ha (2012-03-05). "Peer-to-Peer Carsharing Goes National With RelayRides' Big Launch". TechCrunch.
  6. ^ Ryan Lawler (2012-09-09). "How RelayRides' GM-OnStar Partnership Unlocks Doors — And A Potential 15M Cars For Its Fleet". TechCrunch.
  7. ^ "Long Duration Rentals Fuel 3x Growth at RelayRides". RelayRides.
  8. ^ Lawler, Ryan (2014-06-24). "Car-Sharing Startup RelayRides Raises $25 Million In Funding Led By Canaan Partners". TechCrunch.
  9. ^ Lynley, Matthew (2010-12-14). "Google Drops Bank in RelayRides to Turn Your Car Into a Zipcar". The New York Times.
  10. ^ Lawler, Ryan (2014-08-12). "RelayRides Adds $10 Million From Trinity And Looks To Expand Peer-To-Peer Airport Rentals". TechCrunch.
  11. ^ "Turo turns strangers into car-sharers". The Columbian. 2015-12-26.
  12. ^ Brian Solomon (2015-12-29). "The Hottest On-Demand Startups Of 2015". Forbes.
  13. ^ "Introducing Turo Go". Turo.
  14. ^ Mudhar, Raju (2016-04-19). "'Airbnb for cars' comes to Canada, lets you rent your ride". The Star.
  15. ^ Sagan, Aleksandra (2016-04-19). "Want to make some money renting out your car? Here's how". CTVNews. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  16. ^ "Turo launches 'Airbnb for your car' in British Columbia". Vancouver Sun. 2017-10-03. Retrieved 2018-01-05.
  17. ^ "Turo terms of service". turo.com. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  18. ^ "Introducing Turo Car Sharing Exlusivity". turo.com. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  19. ^ "New York Consumers Should Not Participate in Relay Rides' Online Car-Sharing Program Until Further Notice". New York Department of Financial Services.
  20. ^ "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.
  21. ^ "Suspending New Rentals in NY". RelayRides.
  23. ^ Cody Barbierri (2009-12-01). "RelayRides launches first peer-to-peer carsharing service". Venturebeat.
  24. ^ Ken Belson (2010-09-10). "Baby, You Can Rent My Car". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-01-20.
  25. ^ Marc Levy (2010-07-17). "RelayRides challenges Zipcar, marketing with teams on foot". Cambridge Day. Retrieved 2016-01-20.
  26. ^ Rogers, Roo, Botsman, Rachel (2010). What's Mine is Yours.
  27. ^ Anieca Ayler (2015-02-23). "The Airbnb of Cars Can Save (or Make) You Money". 5280: The Denver Magazine.
  28. ^ Kirsner, Scott (2010-04-12). "RelayRides: Like Zipcar without the car fleet". Boston.com. Retrieved 2010-06-01.

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