Car-sharing service RelayRides rolls up Wheelz

Steven Loeb · May 14, 2013 · Short URL:

Combined forces will help compete against the likes of Uber, ZimRide, SideCar, Lyft and Hailo

Ride-sharing is a hot space right now, with companies like Uber, ZimRide, BlablaCar, Lyft, Hailo and SideCar vying for the same market. Now it just became a even more competitive with two ride-sharing companies having decided to join forces.

Car-sharing company RelayRides has purchased one of its competitors, Wheelz, it was revealed in a blog post Tuesday.

The Wheelz team, along with its intellectual property, including its proprietary DriveBox technology, will all be owned by RelayRides. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"For renters, this acquisition will mean a wider, better selection of high quality vehicles, more protection options and more convenience. For owners, this acquisition will mean that they will have access to an even larger marketplace of passionate, conscientious renters and unmatched earnings in California, and owners across the country will benefit from easier access to renters thanks to the incorporation of some of Wheelz’ patented technologies into our marketplace," RelayRides CEO, Andre Haddad, wrote.

"This is a huge win for our members and for our business. Wheelz’ DriveBox technology is going to make renting out, or accessing a reserved vehicle even more convenient and frictionless."

San Francisco-based RelayRides was founded in 2008 and was launched nationwide in 2012. The company, which started in Boston and San Francisco, allows car owners to share their vehicle with friends and neighbors for a fee.

The company serves tens of thousands of members using several thousand cars in more than 1,500 cities in all 50 states. Since launching across the country, its rental reservation volume has gone up by 500%, and its active vehicle listings have grown by 530%.

RelayRides has raised $13 million, including a $10 million Series A from Shasta Ventures and entrepreneur/environmentalist Lisa Gansky, along with Google Ventures and August Capital, in August 2011.

Palo Alto, California-based Wheelz was a peer-to-peer car-sharing service dedicated to college campuses, originally only available at Stanford University.


"I am proud of what the Wheelz team has accomplished over the last two years. This acquisition is a critical step toward realizing our collective vision. The combined company is stronger than ever and well positioned to bring a better, more economical transportation solution to people across the country," Jeff Miller, CEO of Wheelz, told VatorNews. 


Founded in 2011, the company raised a total of $15 million including a $2 million seed round from angel investors, including Chamath Palihapitiya, who recently started his own fund called The Social+Capital Partnership, as well as Aydin Senkut (of Felicis Ventures) and Red Swan Ventures, run by Andy Dunn, the founder of Bonobos.

In February 2012, Wheelz received $13.7 million in a Series A round of funding, led by ZipCar, and participation from Fontinalis Partners, a transportation technology strategic investment firm based in Detroit.

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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.