By Michael Teich
Car-sharing app Getaround is sitting on a new pile of cash after Japanese conglomerate SoftBank led a $300 million funding round, an infusion that Getaround founder and CEO Sam Zaid said will allow his company to expand beyond the borders of the U.S.
The expertise of SoftBank ー which has made investments in Uber and Chinese ride-share company Didi Chuxing ー is crucial, Zaid said Wednesday in an interview on Cheddar.
"SoftBank is a very seasoned mobility investor," Zaid said. "They had been looking at this space for some time. When we approached them and started discussing, we really felt there was a meeting of the minds around, you know, what the future of transportation looks like and where Getaround fits in that."
Getaround's new funding, though, doesn't erase the harsh reality that the so-called "Airbnb of cars" faces: competition from the likes of ZipCar, Turo, and even General Motors subsidiary Maven.
Zaid said his San Francisco-based company has an edge because users share their own cars.
"We don't own the cars. It's really about driving efficiency and helping people offset the cost of ownership and moving away from everybody having to own a car," he said.
But various aspects of the "sharing economy" have caught the attention of city regulators. The New York City Council recently passed a bill to restrict short-term property rental services like Airbnb. Uber and Lyft also found themselves in the cross-hairs of local lawmakers when the city council put a cap on the number of ride-sharing vehicles in the Big Apple.
All that aside, Zaid is confident Getaround will avoid the pressure from regulators, largely because his company's interests align with local lawmakers.
"Cities are very pro car-sharing. We reduce car ownership, so we reduce congestion, which is a big problem for cities," he said.
Getaround's latest Series D funding brings the company's total capital raise to $400 million since its 2010 launch.
For full interview click here.