Rental car start-up revs up US
Ever heard of a successful American start-up launch whose headquarters are not in San Francisco, but K Road in Auckland? Now you have. Transfercar is a Kiwi tech company specialising in ‘free’ rental cars – and that calls for an explanation.
Rental car firms need to position their fleet for new hires and relocating cars using truck or rail haulage is expensive. Transfercar’s CMO Pascal Languillon says the company’s founders created a website that connects rental car companies needing to transfer their cars with travellers eager to drive them in exchange for a free trip. “Travellers get a free one-way car or campervan hire while the rental companies save big money on relocation costs.” Meanwhile Transfercar picks up a small fee from rental operators for each successful transfer.
The concept was hatched by Espen Grimstad while attending Auckland University Business School in 2007, and his lecturer Brian Karlson. The business created a new market in New Zealand, successfully competed across the Tasman, and now has ‘first mover’ advantage in the US. In 2014 Transfercar raised $450,000 from US entrepreneur Dennis Round to fund expansion in that market. Since launching in August, Languillon says the concept is winning fans in America, having been