RelayRides raises $10 million for P2P car sharing

Ronny Kerr · August 17, 2011 · Short URL:

Sharing mp3s is so 1999... this startup lets you share your car and make money doing it

RelayRides, a peer-to-peer marketplace for car sharing, announced Wednesday that it has increased its total Series A.2 funding to $10 million, with the help of Shasta Ventures and entrepreneur/environmentalist Lisa Gansky, perhaps best known for authoring The Mesh: Why the Future of Business Is Sharing.

Original backers in the Series A include Google Ventures and August Capital.

The service, like many a peer-to-peer service, is intended to benefit both sides in the deal. In this case, it’s the car borrowers and car sharers.

For those borrowing a car, rates start at just $5 per hour, or $55 for daylong reservations. There are no late fees--you just pay for the time you used the vehicle--and gas is included in the reservation (with every 20 miles being complimentary). RelayRides even offers a $1,000,000 insurance policy plus 24/7 roadside assistance.

The company says it costs, on average, $715 per month to be a car owner. Average per month spending for RelayRides users is only $100.

On the car sharing side, things are slightly more complicated. But that's why the car sharers get paid.

For one, sharers need to understand that, though they can set any rate they want, they lose 35 percent immediately: 15 percent goes to the pockets of RelayRides and 20 percent goes to the company’s $1 million insurance policy mentioned above. The sharer also loses out on gas money, though RelayRides says the average driver only travels 5.8 miles in an hour.

Another (necessary?) inconvenience is that RelayRides requires a device installed in the owner’s car. It’s all for security, though. The device allows the car owner to unlock doors, immobilize the engine, find the car (via GPS) and/or track mileage.

"Peer-to-peer carsharing is no longer some theoretical idea on the horizon--it's here and is being realized through the innovative service provided by RelayRides," said Rob Coneybeer, managing director at Shasta Ventures.

"RelayRides is a proven sharing-economy role model. And unlike other carshing companies, it's the most secure service out there because it allows owners to disengage their car remotely if their car should become compromised--a critical security feature for this kind of service."

The new funding will be used to fuel RelayRides’ expansion in both San Francisco and Boston proper.

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RelayRides is the world's first peer-to-peer carsharing service. Our revolutionary service provides the technology, infrastructure and marketplace for car owners to securely and conveniently rent out their vehicles when they are not using them personally. This provides people seeking convenient transportation with a new option, and makes it easier for urban dwellers to enjoy mobility without owning a car.  


As the average US car is driven only 66 minutes a day, RelayRides represents the first opportunity for car owners to monetize this underused asset. By providing the infrastructure, technology and marketplace for car owners to rent out their vehicles, RelayRides gives current car owners the means to monetize a largely underused asset. By enrolling in RelayRides, owners turn a car from an expense into a cash machine, with average profit of approximately $3,550 annually (net of depreciation costs).


How RelayRides Works: 

Car owners list their vehicle on the RelayRides website, designate availability, rental price, and who may rent the vehicle (via Facebook and other social networks).  Car renters browse available vehicles on, reserve a car by the hour or day, and swipe an issued card over a card reader sensor on the vehicle for access during rental. 

To streamline the rental experience, gas and insurance are included.