Carsharing app Getaround raised $300 million in series D funding today — led by investments from SoftBank and Toyota Motor Corp. — at a time when the sector could get a boost from New York City regulations.
Getaround is the latest to join SoftBank’s contingent of mobility startups it backs, which include Uber, China’s ride-hailing service DiDi, and the Southeast Asia mobility platform Grab, Getaround announced in a press release. Toyota previously backed Getaround with a $45 million investment in a series C funding round.
“SoftBank is the premier global investor in mobility, and has tremendous experience working with transportation brands like ours,” Sam Zaid, founder and chief executive of Getaround, said in a press release. “We are confident in our product, playbook, and team — alongside the strong support from both SoftBank and previous investors, we look forward to leading the growth of next-generation carsharing.”
The investment comes at a time when carsharing could be on the up in New York City, which is one of the markets Getaround has targeted for its expansion. Earlier this month, the New York City Council passed legislation to freeze the issuance of any new rideshare licenses for a year, which has rideshare services such as Uber concerned that there won’t be enough drivers to meet the city’s demand.
In fact, Uber has been encouraging drivers already signed up for service in the city to rent their car out to others if they aren’t driving seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
In comes Getaround, which offers carsharing to Uber drivers through a partnership inked with the ride-hailing platform in April. The program is called “Uber Rent” and it allows drivers to access vehicles posted on Getaround directly from the Uber app.
While proponents on the law argue that Uber drivers are congesting the streets and are paid too little, opponents claim the policy could also reinstate a system similar to the old taxi medallion system in which rideshare licensed drivers sell their access at a premium.
Getaround sets itself apart from other carshare competitors — such as Turo — by requiring car owners to use in-car key lock boxes. The system allows app users to securely access the cars they rent without the owner having to hand off the key in person.
Toyota Financial has taken an interest in the technology and launched a pilot in 2017 to see if it could enable car lessees to use the payments generated from Getaround to help pay their monthly bill.
Getaround will use the latest investment to “develop mobility partnerships, launch new product offerings, create operational efficiencies, and continue innovating on its connected car technology,” the company noted in the release.