So back in July when we heard the original idea behind FlightCar I thought this group of teenage ivy league dropouts was absolutely crazy. Their Cincinnati startup Flightcar is a crazy idea. Their simplest pitch, “let someone else rent your car while you’re traveling” seemed a little far fetched. Combine that with the fact that there’s maybe 10 years driving experience between the three of them and even less business traveling experience, and I was totally disconnected.
Sometime during the Brandery’s demo day back in October my opinion changed. By the end of their pitch, and then a brief meeting with all three founders and I was completely sold.
With the “sharing economy” becoming more and more popular, why wouldn’t someone let another person borrow their car while they are away on a trip. People are doing it with their homes all the time now, by way of Vayala and Airbnb.
The concept is fairly simple. You’re flying out of town for a trip and you have to pay for parking for your car. Rather than paying for parking, Flightcar allows you to park your car in their lot and then while your gone it gets rented out to someone else who is coming into town for the same length or a shorter amount of time. Now, instead of spending money to park, you’re making money with your car that would otherwise be sitting in a parking lot.
To make the value proposition work Flightcar founders Rujul Zaparde, Kevin Petrovic and Shri Ganeshram had to insure a few things for their customers to be comfortable with the transaction.
Insurance: Of course the entire transaction, car, renters, drivers and passengers would need to be fully insured. Flightcar has done this by securing a $1 million dollar insurance policy.
Ease of transaction: The Flightcar team has managed to build in several factors to make the transaction as easy and painless as possible. The Flightcar website helps pre-determine the “borrowing”. Once at the airport (participating airports), you park your car at the Flightcar lot where a ride is provided to the gate. Flightcar will also wash and clean your car prior to renting it out and prior to you picking it up.
After the Brandery, Flightcar was accepted into the YCombinator accelerator program in Silicon Valley. Now they’ve raises $5.5 million dollars from investors. This first round of funding comes from General Catalyst, Softbank Capital, Ryan Seacrest’s Seacrest Global Group, founder of Airbnb Brian Chesky, with participation from a host of other investors including First Round Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, according to TechCrunch.
Check out their pitch video from Brandery’s 2012 demo day below:
Find out more about Flightcar here at flightcar.com