Cars: expensive and underutilized, but oftentimes necessary
We have a large problem in the United States: there are a lot of cars that aren’t being utilized very efficiently, but most households still purchase cars because use of a vehicle is required in many situations.
There were 240 million cars in the United States in 2014, a figure that has remained relatively constant over the past several years, and over 90% of U.S. households have at least one car.  The average total annual cost to own a vehicle is $8,698.  Despite widespread adoption and relatively high expense, the median driver only uses their vehicle for 22 minutes per day, meaning those drivers’ cars sit idle for all but those 22 minutes. 
Exhibit 1: Cars in the United States 
Although car ownership is expensive and potentially inefficient, vehicles are required in many situations, and traditional alternatives to car ownership are frequently less than ideal. Rental agencies introduce a high degree of friction to rent and are frequently located far away from the renter. Transportation services, including Uber and taxis, are relatively expensive and only work for very short trips.
Getaround uses technology to solve these pain points
Getaround promises to solve these pain points by providing an online marketplace that makes it easy for people who require use of a vehicle on a sporadic basis to rent from nearby car owners, and the Company delivers on this promise by utilizing the internet, mobile phones, and a telematicsa box located in the vehicle.
How does Getaround work?
Once a vehicle owner decides to list on the platform, Getaround installs a telematics box in the vehicle that enables renters to find the vehicle location using GPS tracking and unlock the car with their mobile phone. Owners then set an hourly (or daily) rental price, provide a schedule of when the car is available, and post the car to the online marketplace. 
Renters search the online marketplace for vehicles that are located close by and available in their preferred time slot and price range. Once the renter selects a vehicle, Getaround provides the vehicle’s precise location, and the renter is able to unlock the vehicle using his mobile phone. If there is any damage to the vehicle, the renter takes photos of the damage with his mobile phone and provides the information to Getaround. Owners can track the vehicle throughout the rental and contact the renter at any time using the Getaround mobile application. Upon completion of the rental, the renter signals the end of his trip via the mobile device, and Getaround uses GPS tracking to ensure the vehicle is in the correct location. 
Exhibit 2: Screenshots of Getaround Platform 
What are the key benefits of the model?
Getaround benefits several groups for different reasons:
- Vehicle owners: Lowered cost of ownership as Getaround can provide owners with up to $800 per month 
- Renters: Reduces need to purchase vehicle and more convenient than other car-replacement alternatives
- Society as a whole: Potentially fewer cars purchased as a result of the sharing model
- Getaround: Ability to make money by facilitating transactions without having to take on vehicle inventory
Next Steps for Getaround
There are two primary steps Getaround should take in the near future:
- Getaround should create a version of telematics box that owners can install themselves: Today, automotive technicians at Getaround are responsible for installing a telematics box on every car. This model adds friction to the onboarding process, increases labor costs to Getaround, and limits Getaround’s expansion opportunity as technicians must be present in every operating city. If vehicle owners could install the box themselves, it would create a simpler onboarding process for owners and enable more rapid expansion to anywhere in the United States.
- Try to get an edge with self-driving cars: Automakers have announced a target launch of fully autonomous vehicles by 2021.  It is imperative that Getaround establishes relationships with these automakers to ensure continued adoption of the Getaround platform. The Company could enter partnership agreements with the automakers that make it easy for vehicle owners to join Getaround, similar to the partnership they recently entered into with Toyota. 
Despite being founded in 2009, Getaround is still relatively small today with only ~100 employees, a private valuation of ~$150 million, and operations in four major metropolitan areas.  The Company provides a great option for vehicle sharing, and with a couple of tweaks to their strategy, I am confident they will grow substantially and achieve long-term success.
a) Telematics refers to the use of wireless devices to transmit real-time data back to an organization and is typically used in the context of automobiles. 
 Reflects light duty vehicles. Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, “Number of U.S. Aircraft, Vehicles, Vessels, and Other Conveyances,” accessed November 2016.
 Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue, Dept. of Global Studies & Geography, Hofstra University, “The Geography of Transport Systems,” https://people.hofstra.edu/geotrans/eng/ch6en/conc6en/USAownershipcars.html, accessed November 2016.
 Erin Stepp, “Annual Cost to Own and Operate a Vehicle Falls to $8,698, Finds AAA,” American Automobile Association, April 28, 2015, http://newsroom.aaa.com/2015/04/annual-cost-operate-vehicle-falls-8698-finds-aaa-archive/, accessed November 2016.
 “American Driving Survey: Methodology and Year One Results, May 2013 – May 2014,” American Automobile Association, April 2015.
 Owner Guide, Getaround website, https://www.getaround.com/tour/experience, accessed November 2016.
 Primary market research conducted in San Francisco from 2013-2016.
 Getaround – Instant Car Rental, Google Play store website, https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.getaround.android&hl=en, accessed November 2016.
 Benefits of Sharing Your Car, Getaround website, https://www.getaround.com/tour/benefits, accessed November 2016.
 Jamie Condliffe, “2021 May Be the Year of the Fully Autonomous Car,” MIT Technology Review, August 17, 2016, https://www.technologyreview.com/s/602196/2021-may-be-the-year-of-the-fully-autonomous-car/, accessed November 2016.
 David Kiley, “Why Toyota is Hitching Up with Car-Sharing Firm Getaround,” Forbes, October 31, 2016, http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidkiley5/2016/10/31/why-toyota-is-linking-with-ride-sharing-firm-getaround/#4c2e39767e69, accessed November 2016.
 Source: Pitchbook.com, a division of Morningstar.
 IT Glossary – Telematics, from Gartner website, http://www.gartner.com/it-glossary/telematics/, accessed November 2016.