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Marissa Mayer Among Getaround's Funders as it Launches Longer-Term Car Share Program

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.

Since I first interviewed Getaround co-founder Jessica Scorpio just over a year ago, she and her team have outgrown their offices and moved to a cool new space on Howard Street near 8th.

They now have 40 people working there and have moved beyond the initial  San Francisco and San Diego markets into Austin and Portland, with many more sure to come.

The new funding will allow them to continue to hire and grow the company, which is already the leading p2p car-sharing service out there.

One of the ways Getaround is expanding is by attracting the support of government agencies that recognize the social utility of encouraging car sharing over car ownership.

“On the municipal, state and federal levels, many officials want to see our car sharing succeed,” says Scorpio.

“For example, we were awarded a $1.275 million federal grant to work with the City of Portland and the Oregon Department of Transportation to take Getaround into Portland.

"We also got a small grant to develop car-sharing in Richmond, across the Bay, in the kind of lower income area where sharing is the most needed.”

One significant factor in pubic agency enthusiasm for “collaborative consumption” models like Getaway’s is growing awareness of the need to reduce our collective carbon footprint in light of the irrefutable scientific evidence of global climate change.

“Back when we started, the 'sharing economy' wasn’t even a term in use yet,” notes Scorpio. “Now Airbnb are the leaders in space-sharing and we are leaders in car-sharing and it all just grows and grows.

(Other leading p2p companies include Zaarly and Liquid Space.)

Until now, people could use Getaround to share cars by the hour for up until one day. But after numerous requests from users, the company created the Getaway program allows for extended periods of sharing.

“We’ve tested this and feel so strongly it will work we are offering a $1,000 revenue guarantee over first three months for those car owners who try it,” says Scorpio. “We believe they will easily make $1,000/month.”

The company already has 10,000 car owners who have signed up for its hourly and daily sharing service, and has scaled to that fleet level in far less time than services like Zipcar, which took 12 years to reach 8500 vehicles.

Scorpio says the average owner is now making $350/month off of the site, but that “many” make $1,000/month. Owners set the rates, which average around $8/hour for an average car, but can be substantially higher for luxury vehicles and cheaper for older models of cars.

Getaround’s larger mission remains to reduce the “overpopulation of cars problem,” as Scorpio calls it. “There are a billion cars on the planet and the average car sits idle 22 hours a day.”

If Jessica Scorpio has her way, and I see no reason why she shouldn’t, in the future that simply will no longer be the case.

(Note: Getaround is one of the startups profiled in our new ebook, 30 Startups to Know Now.)