Community carsharing app Karshare has announced a £3 million fund to support its expansion plans, including launching in more cities.
The company, which launched earlier this year, currently operators in Bristol, Manchester, Coventry and London, and intends to expand to Birmingham, Leeds and Edinburgh, as well as rural communities such as Strathaven and Talybont.
In the first six months, Karshare has reported a 45% increase in revenue growth month-on-month and a 70% growth in members month-on-month, which it says is due to “the financial appeal of the platform for car owners and renters alike”.
Karshare enables people to rent their car to others within their community. Unlike other platforms, it uses keyless technology which means all cars are instantly available. Renters can book immediately via the app and access the vehicle straight away, with no need to arrange a time and date to collect keys from the owner. The cars are also fully insured through the service and include breakdown cover.
It suggests that car owners can increase their household income by up to £550 per month, while renters have the chance to hire a car "more affordably, sustainably and conveniently than is possible via traditional car rental firms".
Andy Hibbert, founder of Karshare, said: “The opportunity to share cars is vast. There are 33 million privately owned cars and 1.5 million registered vans in the UK. On average, these vehicles sit idle 96% of the time. For the many hours they are sat outside people’s homes on streets and driveways, they could be hired out to vetted drivers in the local area, put to good use and generate income for the owners.
“We’re in the perfect position to facilitate this – quickly, easily, affordably and with great assurances for car owners and renters alike. The past 18 months has seen lives change dramatically, whether impacted financially, socially or career-wise; a vast amount of people don’t plan to return to exactly how their lives were before. And with that comes a question around car ownership and the associated costs."
He added: “Our vision for the future is one where there are far less vehicles on our roads, and the vehicles we do have are being shared to give multiple users access for the trips they need. Essentially moving away from ownership toward usership. The sustainability benefits are huge. For each car shared, up to 24 can be taken off the road. Car sharing will play a key role in the move to net zero which will require 50% less cars to be on UK roads and as we transition more to EVs these benefits will continue to grow.”
Karshare will also use the £3m funds to grow its 32-strong team to include more community managers, marketing expertise and fleet technicians, as well as expanding the engineering team.