Future trends in mobility are pretty clear: cars are becoming automated, connected and – shared. While the first two tendencies are largely dependent on the car industry, car sharing is slowly becoming a social phenomenon. Companies like Zipcar or car2go offer short-term rental, while Uber and its look-alikes give you an option to find both a car and a driver. Polish startup Drive Surfing proposes an alternative that goes even further: their platform is an ‘Airbnb for cars,’ where you can rent a vehicle from private owners.
“We connect people who need cars with car owners. Most private vehicles are used for 2-3 hours per day; they spend the rest of the time in garages or parking lots. We want them to be used more often, and help car owners earn on this asset,” explained Bartosz Sułkowski, the CEO of Drive Surfing.
Bartosz Sułkowski and Łukasz Rosa, the COO of the company, often travel around the world – both for business and for leisure. Having frequently faced the inconveniences of traditional car rentals, they came across the idea of a community that would simplify the whole process.
Sułkowski points to two main differentiators that make their platform stand out in the mass of car sharing startups. First of all, they don’t use credit card ‘blocks’ that are a common practice in traditional car rental. Secondly, Drive Surfing brings in the additional layer of community building. “Just like in Airbnb, we want our users to interact with the car owner, learn more about the place they are visiting, and get recommendations from the locals,” said Sułkowski.
A car must fulfill a few conditions before it can be listed on the website. The owner needs to present proof of recent technical inspection and a valid car insurance. The Drive Surfing team is still working on the key issue of insurance in the case of car accidents; they hope to have a solution ready quite soon.
Drive Surfing is officially up and running since March 2017. At this moment, their car base counts about 80 cars from 13 countries all over the world. Surprisingly, the idea is not yet popular in their home country, Poland. On the other hand, car owners in tourist spots, such as Rhodes and Tenerife, are eager to use their cars as an additional source of income.
The team has a long list of goals for the upcoming months. Their primary objective is to expand the car base by finding new users of the platform. They are also working on new functionalities, such as car tracking with the use of GPS, and search for an investor who would help them speed up the development process.