Interview with Jessica Scorpio (Getaround)
Getaround is a social car sharing service where you can either rent cars by the hour from people around you or earn by renting out your car.
I interviewed Jessica Scorpio, Getaround co-founder to find out more. This interview is the sixty eighth in a series of DW interviews. Big thank you to Jessica for the interview!
How would you describe Getaround in under 50 words?
Getaround is a peer-to-peer car rental marketplace that enables people to share personal cars.
What was your inspiration for founding Getaround?
In a 2009 group project at Singularity University’s 10-week summer program in Mountain View, Calif., the 40 students were split into four teams, which had three weeks to come up with a project that could impact a billion people over the next 10 years.
Getaround’s three co-founders (Sam Zaid, Elliot Kroo and myself) concept for an iPhone app that facilitates “peer-to-peer” car-sharing was awarded the “best money-making iPhone app” prize at a July 2009 iPhoneDevCamp event in Sunnyvale, Calif.
On the strength of the “best money-making iPhone app” award, we identified interested venture capitalists, and began Getaround officially in September 2009.
I hear you impressed former TechCrunch boss Michael Arrington so much that his CrunchFund was among the investors that contributed a total of $3.4m in seed funding. At 24 years of age, was this quite overwhelming?
It was exciting and a great vote of confidence in our team and idea. This investment came after about a year of working on our core technology and getting a law passed in California and Berkshire Hathaway to provide insurance for our company.
Have you always been interested in environmental issues?
We help people protect the environment by tackling what we call “car overpopulation” and enabling people to share resources, taking unneeded cars off the road and reducing traffic and auto emissions by changing consumer driving behavior.
What was the most challenging part of starting Getaround?
Getting insurance for a new and innovative business model. Any and all rental-related claims will be 100% handled by Berkshire Hathaway, Getaround’s A++ rated insurance carrier, so your personal insurance will never be affected.
Do you plan to go international?
Getaround plans to expand to the most receptive markets including international destinations.
Where do you see Getaround in ten years time?
- Expansion into the most receptive markets.
- Forging key partnerships to drive adoption.
- Continued development of new product features and technology.
- Additional mobile platforms beyond the iPhone.
Has Getaround got the feedback and growth you expected since launch?
Yes. We signed up 1,600 cars in one day and since have signed up cars all over the country almost totaling the amount of cars Zipcar has (8,000+).
What is the biggest hurdle you have faced or are still facing?
We work to ensure that our members have a great experience every time. That means getting all the details right while growing the member base and expanding to new geographies.
What are you most excited about at the moment?
Positively impacting peoples lives and making the world a more sustainable place! We just expanded to Portland, Oregon and will be launching more cities this year!
Can you convince the reader to start using Getaround in under 100 words?
- With the average car idle 92 percent of the time, Getaround enables cars (and people!) to get un-idled.
- Getaround allows owners to easily rent out their cars to trusted friends, co-workers, and neighbors, thereby offsetting the cost of vehicle ownership.
- People without cars are provided easy, affordable access to vehicles everywhere.
- Leveraging the media and public understanding of how Zipcar works, plus the popularity of other “collaborative consumption” businesses like Airbnb gives us the launching pad to explain how Getaround works, and why it is better.
Finished reading? Check out Getaround!