Getaround got a $300 million infusion from SoftBank and others on Tuesday. For all the ink spilled about the potential for scooters, bikes and ride-hailing to prompt people to ditch their cars, car-sharing hasn’t got much attention. That’s in part because few companies have been sustainable and managed to scale their service. The product experience can be clunky, involving repeated customer-service calls and unexpected parking tickets. The rise of Uber and Lyft dented the potential for older car-sharing services like Zipcar and even newer ones like Getaround.
But few may find a car-ownership-free life enticing without a reliable car to rent by the hour. Getaround wants to fill that demand. CEO Sam Zaid told The Information it would use the money to expand headcount and spend more on marketing after years of trying to be more conservative. Now, “if we’re choosing between profitability and growth, we’re choosing growth,” he said.
Still, there is growing competition such as Turo, which rents by the day, and carmakers like General Motors that have started renting out their fleets of cars on an hourly basis in cities. Getaround draws a lower share of consumer spending on this market than rivals like Turo, Daimler’s car2go and Avis’ Zipcar, according to the consumer spending analytics firm TXN.