Japanese conglomerate SoftBank is betting big on the “car sharing” business.
Car rental company Getaround announced on Tuesday that it has closed a $300 million investment round led by SoftBank. According to Quartz, which earlier reported on the venture round, Getaround didn’t announce its valuation. In total, however, the company has raised nearly $400 million since its founding.
Getaround is taking aim at traditional rental car companies like Hertz and Avis. Instead of operating facilities that give you any number of car options like those companies, Getaround instead believes that “peer-to-peer” car sharing is a better model. With Getaround, you simply search for cars around you that are available to rent. You enter your license and credit card information and book your vehicle. You can then unlock the car with your phone and jump right in.
The cars themselves are owned by individuals that sign up for Getaround as car hosts. They simply use the Getaround technology to allow other people to unlock their cars, decide when they want to make their cars available, and that’s it. Whenever their cars are rented, they earn money from the person renting the vehicle.
Rentals start at $5 per hour.
Getaround has quickly established itself as a major player in the car rental business. In addition to the round led by SoftBank, the company has previously raised money from Toyota.
For its part, SoftBank has been investing heavily in ride-sharing companies. It’s dropped billions into Uber and Didi Chuxing, among others, and has been a major investor in Ola.