Getaround, the peer-to-peer car-sharing service, announced a bunch of news today, including a new way for car owners to rent their cars out for an extended period of time, such as when they are backpacking overseas or on a military deployment.
As part this new longer-term sharing program, which is called Getaway, the company has also released a feature called Instant Rental that allows people to get access to a shared car instantly through its in-car technology known as the Getaround Carkit.
Finally, the startup has raised a substantial Series A round of funding from an impressive group of investors, including Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s new CEO, as well as the venture firm of Google’s former CEO, Eric Schmidt.
Calling itself “the first on-demand rideshare community,” Sidecar emerged from four months of beta testing last week, having already facilitated 10,000 rides in and around San Francisco.
It's a free smartphone app (available in both iOS and Android) that connects you with nearby drivers when you need a ride. You can choose to make a donation to the driver for that ride if you wish; it’s voluntary.
“During testing, people told us that they love the convenience and the friendliness of Sidecar,” says CEO Sunil Paul. “The reception has been astounding.”
If your house is anything like mine, you too have a growing inventory of old cell phones, video games, and DVDs sitting around, gathering dust.
You could always try to sell them on eBay, or at some trade-in site. But the problem is that unless you’re already a proficient user of eBay, or similar sites, the process of auctioning off goods is not all that intuitive, and can easily turn into a time-sink. Now, there's an easier way.
As we figure out how to meet more and more of our offline needs in online marketplaces, one key issue always arises -- trust. How do we know we can trust the people we meet online?
And if this is an issue with sharing or exchanging things, like our apartments (Airbnb), cars (Getaround), and services (Zaarly), it's even more the case with the decisions about which people will take care of our kids.
San Francisco-based UrbanSitter has emerged over the past six months to help parents and babysitters meet up. It starts with Facebook Connect.
One of the most significant social and economic trends that has emerged from technology entrepreneurs in 2011 is collaborative consumption.
While demographers and marketing executives may argue over how to define generations, they agree about the impact that Generation Y -- no matter which set of age parameters you use -- is having on communications technology, ecommerce, and the media.
It’s huge, as several recent reports document.
For example, a recent study from Barkley reports that Millennials aged 16-34:
- Watch much less TV than other Americans (26 percent v. 47 percent).
- But watch many more TV shows on laptops (42 percent v. 18 percent), and other devices.
- Are much more likely to be influenced by their friends about where to shop, etc. (70 percent v. 45 percent).
- Like to check out brands on social media sites more than older Americans (53 percent v. 36 percent).
- Like brands more if on social media sites (33 percent v. 17 percent).
When Jessica Scorpio uses the word “overpopulation," chances are she's talking about cars, not people.
“There are a billion cars on the planet today, and if we don’t do something, in 20 years there will be two billion,” says the Getaround co-founder. “And at any minute, 92 percent of those cars are sitting empty – only 8 percent are being used.”
Getaround is a company on a mission to change all that. Like Airbnb, Zaarly, and other peer-to-peer (p2p) marketplaces, Getaround is an example of how collaborative consumption can have a transformative effect on the way we live our lives and share our resources with one another.
Once upon a New Year's Eve, after StumbleUpon founder and CEO Garrett Camp dropped $800 on three cab rides, he decided there had to be a better way to get a ride when you really needed one.
He started Uber, a marketplace that connects you via an iPhone or android app with your own private driver. That may sound simple enough but take a peek under the hood, and it turns out be one gigantic math problem, says Ryan Graves, Uber's VP of Operations.
"A lot goes into matching drivers with riders," he told me, "and we measure everything. After someone opens the app, how often do they refresh the screen? How fast does the driver respond? How accurate is his ETA?"
Using GPS, Uber's system identifies the closest on-duty driver to where the rider's location. The driver has 15 seconds to respond. "Drivers love it," says Graves, "because it means less time with an empty backseat. When they're empty they are treating the Uber app like it's hot."