Congrats to Sam, Elliot, Adam, and the entire Getaround team on their recent $300M financing led by Softbank’s Vision Fund. Getaround is the carsharing platform that empowers users to instantly rent and drive great cars shared by people in their city. It seems only appropriate that a fund named for Vision is leading this latest round: as early investors in Getaround, Menlo has always supported Sam’s ambitious vision to reduce traffic congestion, pollution, and offset the high cost of car ownership.
Today, Getaround is available in 66 cities across the United States, with important markets launched in the past year, including Boston, New Jersey, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Jose and Philadelphia. That’s quite an accomplishment. Building an organic network of owners and renters is resource intensive. It takes time, money, people, execution, and infrastructure. But it’s smart business strategy. Marketplaces are particularly attractive to investors because the leading company can easily assume a winner-take-all or winner-take-most position. Marketplaces are also one of the few business models that exhibit true network effects; supply and demand follow each other. There is a real “first-mover” advantage for Getaround being first to new geographies. Getaround also benefits from a partnership with Uber, which allows both Uber customers and UberX drivers to rent vehicles within the app. They have also partnered with Toyota to create seamless carsharing for Toyota and Lexus brand vehicles. The integrations with Uber and Toyota are the result of Getaround’s technical chops as they leverage connected car technology and partnerships with market leaders to build out their on-demand carsharing network.
We are still in the early innings of the enormous transformation of the transportation industry that will change in how we think about moving people and products. It’s an exciting category on which Menlo bet early, with early-stage investments on Uber, Jump Bikes (acquired by Uber), Skip (scooters), and Flirtey (drone delivery). Each of these investments built on our theme of shared on-demand infrastructure to deliver both people and products and capitalizes on our belief that attitudes about car ownership—and transportation more broadly—have changed. It’s been exciting to watch each of these companies grow and mature. We’ve cheered on Uber as they’ve brought on Dara as CEO and more recently a new CFO Nelson Chai, signaling a new era for the company. We celebrated Jump’s acquisition by Uber; clearly Uber understood the value Jump created. More recently, we’ve marked Skip’s Portland launch, and we anxiously await to hear whether or not the city of San Francisco will select them as a pilot partner. And later this year, Flirtey, a drone delivery service that works with ambulance and medical providers to deliver medicine to rural health-care clinics, will roll out a program in their hometown of Reno to deliver a portable defibrillator when a 911 call reports someone is in cardiac arrest. With each milestone, we see that our investments are not only fueling company growth but that these companies are also driving positive impacts in their geographies.
As a firm, Menlo Ventures will continue to identify and invest in companies that are not only disrupting the status quo but also driving positive changes in our daily lives. We are currently looking for other disruptive innovations in sectors that include mobility, autonomy, services, and new marketplaces. Connect with us!