Turo is a car-sharing marketplace that allows vehicle owners to make money by renting out their vehicles and gives renters an alternative to owning a car. The service is thus often referred to as the Airbnb of cars.
The company, headquartered in San Francisco, California, was founded in 2008 by Shelby Clark.
The app is simple. After you enter a preferred date and location, a list of vehicles will appear. You may filter the result based on brand, model, and type.
Once they select a desired car, users can complete the booking process on Turo. The vehicle will then be picked up by the renter or delivered by the owner to the location they agreed upon.
As a car-sharing company, Turo protects both owners and renters. Renters, for instance, can talk to customer support, which is always available. Meanwhile, car owners have their vehicles insured for up to $750,000.
Charging both the owner as well as the renter of the vehicle is also how Turo makes money.
Founder Shelby Clark was a biomedical engineering graduate who first worked in consulting for three years. In 2007, he was hired in the Valley to work at a microlending company. As he was about to settle in the town, his car broke down. From then on, he opted to rely on bikes and rentals—specifically, Zipcar.
After just a year, Clark had to move again to pursue an MBA in Boston, where he was immediately disappointed by his old friend, Zipcar. Unfortunately, the car he was about to rent was 2.5 miles away.
Frustrated one day by the number of unused cars Clark saw along the street, he began to think about ways to make car-sharing a reality. Before 2009 ended, Clark worked on joining pitch events, gathering angel inventors, and raising $600,000.
Today, Turo has raised more than $500 million. The app, available in over 7,500 cities, has 1.3 million customers. Per estimates, there are over 450,000 vehicles listed on the platform.
In 2021, the company had its breakthrough when it experienced a whopping 300% revenue growth. And with the recent rise in inflation, more and more people are discovering the benefits of car-sharing. Turo’s success led to the company’s decision to go public in January 2022.
The methodology by which competitors of Turo are ranked is based on various data points. Information such as the number of customers, revenue, active locations and countries, the number of cars offered, funding raised, and everything else deemed relevant is considered.
We specifically take a look at traditional car rental companies, business-to-consumers, and peer-to-peer car-sharing platforms.
Business-to-customer platforms let users borrow cars, while peer-to-peer apps allow other users to list cars they’re willing to lend.
Lastly, this analysis should not be seen as an endorsement of either service. It is merely a summary of all the competition that Turo faces today.
So, without further ado, let’s a look at Turo’s top 12 competitors.
Headquarters: San Francisco, California Founder(s): Sam Zaid, Elliot Kroo, and Jessica Scorpio Year Founded: 2009
Getaround is among the leading car-sharing platforms. It allows users to borrow cars from private owners instead of rental agencies, which usually come at higher prices.
Founders Zaid and Scorpio were studying at Singularity University, where they met Larry Page, one of Google’s co-founders. Page challenged them to impact one billion people’s lives in ten years. One idea was the transportation industry; hence Getaround was born.
The founders also attributed much of Getaround’s early success to word-of-mouth referrals. It makes sense since people are more likely to talk about a new service when they receive their first paycheck through it.
Getaround operates similarly to Turo. Renters can search for available cars nearby, which they can book on demand. The owner’s approval is unnecessary, and the car can be unlocked immediately.
The company also offers Getaround Connect, which gives car insurance coverage and makes booking insurance easier. All car owners have to do is note when their car will not be available. With this, trips are automatically booked and confirmed.
Currently, Getaround has 5 million users and 20,000 connected cars. Operating in 300 US cities and 800 international locations, the company earns $54.4 million annually. Getaround has already raised $568 million in funding.
Sources: Crunchbase, Getaround, Getaround Help Center
Headquarters: Boston, Massachusetts Founder(s): Robin Chase and Antje Danielson Year Founded: 2000
Zipcar is a membership-based car-sharing platform that lets users rent cars in exchange for monthly or annual subscription fees.
Founder Chase, an MIT business graduate, was a full-time mom at the time, while Danielson was a Harvard geochemist. The two met at a kindergarten in Cambridge and were immediately bonded by their financial struggles.
Inspired by Danielson’s research on mobility cooperatives, the two decided to pitch a car rental service, with initial funding of $75,000 raised.
Zipcar works by imposing membership fees on users. They can rent cars for hours or days, aside from hourly rates for insurance, maintenance, and gas. Before rates can be calculated, renters must indicate whether they are going on a one-day errand or a week-long trip when booking a car.
In 2013, Zipcar was bought by Avis for $500 million. Meanwhile, the company’s key management continued to oversee its operations. With this, Zipcar and Avis, both working in the same industry, continue to compete.
Currently, Zipcar has 1 million members and a fleet of 10,000 vehicles. In 2021, the company earned $99 million in revenue. As of this writing, Zipcar has raised $107.7 million in funding.
Sources: AP News, The Verge, Zipcar, Zipcar Affiliate Offer
3. Enterprise Holdings
Headquarters: St. Louis, Missouri Founder(s): Jack C. Taylor Year Founded: 1957
Enterprise Holdings is one of the biggest companies of its kind in the US. It runs several subsidiary companies, such as Enterprise Rent-A-Car.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car offers a variety of vehicles aside from cars. They are known to accommodate travelers traveling from the point of arrival to the country through their Airport Car Rental service.
Unlike Turo, Enterprise Holdings is a business-to-consumer company. Enterprise Holdings own the cars listed on the website. So aside from car rental services, Enterprise also sells used rental cars on its platform.
Enterprise Holdings started as a leasing company for corporations and individuals. Back then, most car rentals focused on airport services, and Enterprise extended its support to the neighborhood.
From only seven cars, the company now owns a fleet of 1.7 million vehicles, the largest in the US. Enterprise Holdings operates in over 100 countries, and as of 2021, it earned roughly $24 billion.
Sources: Enterprise Holding, Enterprise Holding Financial Information, Enterprise Rent-A-Car
4. Uber Rent
Headquarters: San Francisco, California Founder(s): Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp Year Founded: 2009
Uber Rent is a subsidiary of the transportation giant Uber. With the influence of its parent company, Uber Rent is among the most popular platforms of its kind, particularly in the US.
This subsidiary was first launched in mid-2021 in Washington. Uber Rent makes money by getting a cut of rental fees, as Uber Rent does not independently own a fleet of vehicles. The platform mainly relies on its partners.
Like Turo, Uber Rent works much like Airbnb but for cars. But unlike peer-to-peer and car rental companies, Uber Rent works with third-party platforms, most of which are also Uber Rent’s competitors. Among these partners are Getaround, Hertz, and Avis.
With Uber Rent, renters must pick up the car at the rental desk, where they should also make payments. Unlike many other car rentals, insurance is optional and separately paid.
Another thing that sets Uber Rent apart is the opportunity it provides for people who don’t own a car but want to make money driving on the side. To rent a car and earn with Uber, drivers must first sign up to drive. Uber Rent is current<< available in the UK, US, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Switzerland.
Sources: CNN Business, Uber Help, Uber Investor Relations
Headquarters: London, England Founder(s): Graeme Risby and Rob Larmour Year Founded: 2013
Hiyacar is a peer-to-peer car rental app that mainly operates in the UK. In the country, it is the longest-running app that helps car owners turn unused vehicles into a passive source of income.
Like Turo, Hiyacar lets local owners register, list, and rent out their cars to interested renters. Everything is also independently settled by the two parties—the rental price, pickup location, duration, etc.
Before a reservation is made, the car’s owner must confirm the rental. After the transaction, the owner receives 80% of the fee.
Unlike Turo, however, Hiyacar is more like a community market for cars. To offer nearby drivers affordable access to vehicles, the company launched Car Clubs in communities across the UK, including Oxfordshire St.Andrews. The car club cars are owned and operated by Hiyacar.
The story behind the company is founder Risby’s passion for cars; he couldn’t help but own them as a hobby. On the other hand, he had some friends who did not own a vehicle.
With that—and his love for technology—Risby decided to create a platform where car enthusiasts and non-car owners could connect and help each other.
Today, with over 100,000 members in the UK, Hiyacar has raised $15 million in funding and generates $10.6 million in revenues yearly. There’s currently limited information about the company’s exact number of listed cars.
Sources: Crunchbase, Hiyacar, Tech Spark
Headquarters: San Francisco, California Founder(s): Ludwig Shoenac, Nikolaus Volk, and Francisco Wiedderman Year Founded: 2019
Kyte is a car rental company that delivers cars to customers’ doors. The company employs drivers who pick up and return rented vehicles when customers are done with them.
This platform is not the typical rental or sharing app that owns a fleet of cars or lists many user-owned vehicles. Instead, Kyte partners with third-party companies and professionals. It works like a connecting bridge between renters and small-scale car rental businesses.
The company was founded in 2019 but has already established a substantial share of the car-sharing market. One of the founders, Volk, learned most of his knowledge about the mobility industry while working at Uber.
He then reconnected with Franceso, a college friend, and Ludwig, a consultant for automotive strategies. Together, the trio started Kyte with the goal of adding the “last missing piece” to the mobility landscape: car rentals.
After only three years, Kyte now serves in 13 cities in the US. As a mere “logistics company” for vehicles, Kyte doesn’t necessarily own a fleet of cars, but it’s estimated that the company has 10,000 vehicles available for rental. Its founders have raised $239 million thus far.
Sources: Alchemist Accelerator, Auto Rental News, Crunchbase News, Forbes, Kyte
Headquarters: Estero, Florida Founder(s): Walter L. Jacobs Year Founded: 1918
Hertz is one of the oldest surviving car rental companies. It has earned a reputation in its industry, having been named the best car rental company 13 times.
When Walter Jacobs was 22, he started a car rental business in Chicago with a couple of Ford cars he owned. Five years later, he had turned his little venture into a million-dollar company.
He sold the company to Hertz in 1923 and continued to work with him until he retired in 1960. Both helped the small “Rent-a-Ford” company become a famous brand, now known as The Hertz Corporation.
Hertz works as traditional car rentals do. The company owns a fleet of cars, which it sells after a couple of years. Rented cars are picked up at a nearby Hertz location.
In 2021, Hertz generated $7.3 billion in revenues. The company doesn’t regularly report an estimate of its number of customers. Hertz currently owns a fleet of 550,000, available for rent at 6,500 locations in 140 countries.
Sources: Hertz, Hertz Investor Relations, Reference for Business
Headquarters: Paris, France Founder(s): David Amsellem Year Founded: 2015
Virtuo is a vehicle-hire platform that lets users borrow a fleet of company-owned cars for days, dominating the said industry in the European region.
The company follows a business-to-customer model, so the cars rented out are owned by Virtuo. The platform lets users choose whether to pick up the vehicle at a nearby Virtuo location or have it delivered for an additional fee.
In addition to its car rental service, Virtuo lets small businesses sign up to have their cars listed and rented out on the platform. Virtuo, of course, gets a cut of the rental fees earned through the app/website.
Virtuo was formed to establish an entirely virtual experience in car rental services. Today, the company earns $32.7 million in revenues annually, serving in France, Spain, Italy, Germany, and the UK.
Currently, Virtuo has over 150,000 active users and more than 4,000 vehicles. Its founders have raised over €109 million in funding thus far.
Sources: Clean Technica, Google Cloud, Theta, Virtuo
Headquarters: Parsippany-Troy Hills, New Jersey Founder(s): Warren Avis Year Founded: 1946
Avis Budget Group is a car rental company that, aside from its rental services, operates a few automotive-related subsidiaries. Among these subsidiaries is Getaround, another competitor.
Founder Warren Avis started it as an ordinary car rental company when he thought of the potential of air travel, which was only becoming popular then. With that, Avis became one of the first car rentals in the airport.
As with other car rental companies, Avis lets users choose from a vast list of vehicles they can rent for days or weeks. In addition to cars, Avis also offers one-way airport rentals. Cars are delivered at the airport and can be returned to the exact location or an Avis location.
Avis started its famous “We Try Harder” campaign in 1963, and it is still a big part of how the company markets itself today.
The firm currently operates at 5,500 locations in over 165 countries. They generate over $9 billion in revenues yearly and own 600,000 vehicles.
Sources: Avis, Avis Budget Group, Avis World
10. SHARE NOW
Headquarters: Berlin, Germany Founder(s): BMW Group and Mercedes-Benz Mobility AG Year Founded: 2019
SHARE NOW is a car-sharing platform resulting from a merger between DriveNow and Car2Go, which used to also compete in the car rental industry.
SHARE NOW charges customers based on per-minute rates, which cover rental fees, gas, insurance, maintenance, and parking. Aside from this, they may also impose annual fees for members.
With SHARE NOW, rented cars are delivered to the customer’s door or can be picked up by the customer. They accept last-minute reservations and offer free parking in “Home Areas.” SHARE NOW also offers corporate partnerships, which provide businesses with company cars.
The company was founded under a joint venture agreement between Mercedes and BMW. Their two subsidiaries, Car2Go (owned by Mercedes) and DriveNow (owned by BMW), merged in hopes of increasing their market share.
There’s limited information about the company’s data since it’s only new. SHARE NOW is estimated to have 3.4 million registered members and vehicles and make $217 million annually. Currently, SHARE NOW operates in 18 European cities.
Sources: Auto Blog, Car2Go, SHARE NOW, SHARE NOW History
Headquarters: Bristol, England Founder(s): Andy Hibbert Year Founded: 2020
Karshare is a peer-to-peer car-sharing platform that allows its users to rent or lease their cars. Aside from neighborhood services, Karshare offers car-sharing at airport locations.
In 2014, founder Andy Hibbert was flying home after researching the success of Airbnb in America. While waiting at the airport, he thought about the positive success of Airbnb and how frustrating it had been when he tried to rent a car—full of hidden fees and inconveniences.
From there, he took Airbnb’s home-sharing experience as inspiration to build a community where people could share cars. Karshare works much as Turo does. However, in addition to short-term rentals, Karshare is open to year-long leases.
Karshare lets owners decide on their rates, although they also recommend Smart Pricing. In addition, the platform also uses Telematics technology to allow owners to track the use of their car while it’s gone. Kudos Points are given to customers who drive safely.
Founded only in 2020, the company releases limited information about its performance. Per estimates, Karshare’s annual income is at most $5 million. Currently, it only serves 6,441 contactless rental vehicles. Karshare has raised £4.4 million in funding thus far.
Sources: Crunchbase, Information Matters, Karshare
Headquarters: Seattle, Washington Founder(s): Neil Peterson Year Founded: 2000
Flexcar is a vehicle subscription platform that lets people rent cars and charge fees based on how long they use the vehicle and how many miles they drive.
Flexcar works like other car rentals do. The company owns a fleet of cars available for pickup at four central locations: Charlotte, Atlanta, Boston, and Nashville. To keep accounts active, users must pay a weekly subscription. Users may also need to settle additional payments and refundable deposits upon booking a car.
Founder Peterson established the company inspired by the car rental industry he saw in Europe. At first, it was challenging to find companies that would help him. Nonetheless, he continued his business with some family money and a couple of angel investors.
Soon, Honda became one of Flexcar’s most significant investors. In 2007, Flexcar merged with its competitor, Zipcar, for an undisclosed amount. Currently, the company earns less than $5 million in revenues and has raised $296 million in funding. Other than that, little is known about its number of customers and fleet of cars.
Sources: Crosscut, Crunchbase, Flexcar, Flexcar Support