Mobile app Silvercar expands to LAX, betting you’ll want to rent a good Audi

(Photo: Thanks to Silvercar)

Renting a car can be a pain. You need to go through the reservation process, pick a car, worry about add-ons. Then, once you reach the airport, there’s more standing in line and having the reservation agent try to upsell you. Which car do you want? Does it have GPS? Should you pay extra for the extra features?

If any industry has been ripe for “disruption” – the particular much-hyped buzzword of start-ups almost everywhere – the rental car industry is it.

That’s what a couple of new car start-ups are expecting. Silvercar, a mobile-based rental car business (Android or iPhone), announced it will be expanding to LAX in Nov. And FlightCar, a car-sharing support that allows people to rent out their vehicles, is expanding throughout San Francisco – despite legal action from the city.

Silvercar looks like a conventional rental car company, but it’s not. The company, which has raised $16. 5 mil from investors, has just one kind of car for rent – the particular Audi A4 – and it isn’t really cheap (over $100/day with charges and taxes). It is, however , simple.

Renters use the mobile app to book a car, with no hassle of having to pick which kind of car. They input all their information on the particular app and unlock the car through their phone, so they can simply stroll right up and drive away. No agent to upsell; no fancier model to be upsold on.

While Silvercar launched at SFO without any announcement earlier this summer, for your LAX debut the company sent the splashy email to subscribers informing them to circle Nov. 4. The particular service is only available in Austin, Houston, Dallas Love Field and San Francisco so far, but if the Silvercar spokesperson is usually to be believed, they’ve already received bookings for Los Angeles four weeks out.

If Silvercar is going after the luxury renter, FlightCar is going after the penny-pinchers. Airport parking and car rentals can be expensive, so the start-up launched by three teenagers lets individuals earn money, between $10-20/day, by parking their cars in the FlightCar great deal. Their cars are then leased out to other travelers looking for inexpensive alternatives to Hertz.

FlightCar was one of the first in the rental car-sharing business (which is slightly different than the ride-sharing business, exactly where people use their own cars to push others around in makeshift taxis). Getaround and RelayRides both let people rent out their unused vehicles. But those services have traditionally focused on shorter rides in metropolitan areas – as in, you can rent my car while I’m at work. FlightCar has focused on the huge, untrained airport parking/rental business. And the airport isn’t happy.

Apparently SFO, where FlightCar launched, offers sued the company, saying it’s owed 10% of gross profit and also a $20 fee for each rental car transaction. All other rental car companies at the airport pay these fees. The city of Burlingame also issued FlightCar the cease-and-desist order for its lot close to the airport, causing the company to move in order to nearby Millbrae.

That hasn’t stopped FlightCar from expanding to Boston in August and launching a larger version of the support, called FlightCar Monthly, which will work throughout San Francisco.

The company says the rental service is simply as good as your standard rental car – but better. For those leaving their particular cars, they cover insurance, damage, and they even promise to wash it for you.


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(Photo: Courtesy of Silvercar)

Renting an automobile can be a pain. You have to go through the reservation process, pick a car, worry about addons. Then, once you get to the airport, there’s more standing in line and having the reservation agent try to upsell you. Which car do you want? Does it have GPS? Should you pay extra for your extra features?

If any industry was ripe meant for “disruption” – the much-hyped buzzword of start-ups everywhere – the particular rental car industry is it.

That’s what a few new car start-ups are hoping. Silvercar, the mobile-based rental car company (Android or even iPhone), announced it will be expanding in order to LAX in November. And FlightCar, a car-sharing service that allows individuals to rent out their cars, is expanding throughout San Francisco – despite lawful action from the city.

Silvercar looks like a traditional rental car business, but it’s not. The company, which has raised $16. 5 million from investors, has just one kind of car meant for rent – the Audi A4 – and it’s not cheap (over $100/day with fees and taxes). It is, however , easy.

Renters use the mobile app in order to book a car, without the hassle of getting to pick which kind of car. They input all their information on the app and unlock the car via their phone, so they can simply walk right up and drive away. No agent to upsell; no fancier model to be upsold on.

While Silvercar launched at SFO without any statement earlier this summer, for the LAX first appearance the company sent a splashy e-mail to subscribers telling them to group Nov. 4. The service is just available in Austin, Houston, Dallas Like Field and San Francisco so far, however, if the Silvercar spokesperson is to be believed, they’ve already received reservations for La four weeks out.

If Silvercar is going after the luxury renter, FlightCar is going after the penny-pinchers. Airport car parking and car rentals can be costly, so the start-up launched by three teenagers lets people earn money, between $10-20/day, by parking their vehicles in the FlightCar lot. Their vehicles are then rented out to additional travelers looking for cheap alternatives in order to Hertz.

FlightCar has been one of the first in the rental car-sharing business (which is slightly different than the particular ride-sharing business, where people make use of their own cars to drive others about in makeshift taxis). Getaround and RelayRides both let people rent out their unused cars. But those services have traditionally focused on shorter rides in cities – as with, you can rent my car whilst I’m at work. FlightCar has centered on the huge, untapped airport parking/rental business. And the airport isn’t content.

Reportedly SFO, exactly where FlightCar launched, has sued the company, saying it’s owed 10% of gross profit and a $20 charge for each rental car transaction. All other rental car companies at the airport pay these types of fees. The city of Burlingame furthermore issued FlightCar a cease-and-desist purchase for its lot near the airport, evoking the company to move to nearby Millbrae.

That hasn’t halted FlightCar from expanding to Boston in August and launching a larger version of the service, called FlightCar Monthly, which will work throughout San Francisco.

The company says the particular rental service is just as good otherwise you standard rental car – but much better. For those leaving their cars, these people cover insurance, damage, and they even promise to wash it for you.

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