Less than two years ago, as we announced Turo’s Series C financing, I wrote that Turo’s peer-to-peer car sharing platform was shifting into high gear. Back then, Turo was just hitting a key inflection point that is critical for the growth of sharing economy firms, when power users realize the potential of a platform to enable their entrepreneurial dreams. It’s comparable to early eBay power sellers and Airbnb renters first realizing the potential to build real business on those platforms and as a part of those communities.
If back then Turo was shifting into high gear, today as they announced their $92 million Series D, the company has officially shifted into overdrive.
As an investor in Turo, I see today’s announcement as a validation of Turo’s truly global opportunity to help the world rethink the notion of car ownership. Thanks to Turo’s mission to make mobility accessible to everyone, millions of consumers will be empowered to go where they want, when they want, in vehicles of their choosing. Rather than belonging to a generic fleet lacking either vehicle choice or convenient locations, those vehicles will belong to Turo’s vibrant community of newly minted car rental micro-entrepreneurs spanning North America, Europe and beyond.
The sky’s the limit for what Turo and their four million users can achieve, and I know we’ll all enjoy the ride!
Turo Shifts Into High Gear
Originally published November 3, 2015
Today, Turo shifts into high gear with a new brand and a $47M Series C round to expand its peer-to-peer car sharing platform internationally. It’s an exciting milestone for the company formerly known as RelayRides, and one that positions it to leave U.S. competitors in the dust as it undergoes the next stage in its evolution into a category-defining global marketplace. Two-sided marketplaces typically start with casual owners/sellers interested in making some money on the side, but hit an exciting inflection point as power sellers begin to recognize the economic opportunity to scaling up their activities into bona fide small businesses. Turo has hit that inflection point.
Turo is following in the footsteps of other iconic online marketplaces like eBay and AirBnB. eBay started with hobbyists and collectors selling idiosyncratic inventory to buyers who couldn’t find the same items anywhere else, but progressed to full-time small business owners who found they could make a living selling on eBay’s platform. Similarly, AirBnB started with urban apartment dwellers hoping to earn extra cash to make ends meet, but now attracts sophisticated owners who rent out multiple properties as a steady source of cash flow. Today, as activity on Turo’s platform is accelerating exponentially, savvy vehicle owners are doubling down by reinvesting car sharing profits into new vehicle assets that can be used to expand their earnings potential. Turo’s marketplace allows these microentrepreneurs to thrive, providing marketing and distribution infrastructure that they could not develop on their own. When you start to see sellers engaging ever more deeply with your platform, you know you’ve hit on a winning formula.
Turo’s evolution as the world’s leading peer-to-peer car sharing marketplace has been accelerated and magnified by a generational shift in Millennial attitudes toward asset ownership. Specifically, Millennials are more willing to share their assets as part of Shared Economies that offer them greater flexibility (“Why not rent my car when I’m not using it to earn extra cash?”) and are more willing to tap into assets provided by these marketplaces in lieu of formal ownership. When it comes to cars in particular, studies have demonstrated that many Millennials care more about the freedom afforded by car rentals than they do about the status afforded by car ownership, a dramatic departure from previous generations who looked at car ownership as an important rite of passage. Millennials are also a diverse and globally aware generation interested in opportunities for cultural exchange with the global community, another advantage presented by Turo’s focus on building a trusting community for peer-to-peer car rentals.
We are thrilled to be investors in Turo and are looking forward to the road ahead. Congratulations to the company and to KPCB as the leaders of this latest financing. With CEO Andre Haddad and his talented team behind the wheel, we know Turo will go exciting places!