FlightCar (http://www.flightcar.com), the world’s first peer-to-peer car sharing company to operate at airports, announced today its first-year results after launching last February in San Francisco, then later in Boston and Los Angeles. Already, rental cars offered by FlightCar members through the car sharing service have been frequently sold out in all three cities, giving members the ability to put money back into their pockets when they leave their cars behind to travel out of SFO, LAX and BOS.
In just one year, over 15,000 members have shared 1.2 million miles with each other and have saved millions of dollars in car-related travel expenses. In their first year, FlightCar estimates members saved over $1.4 million in rental fees when using the company’s peer-to-peer car sharing service over conventional car rental services. Members parking with FlightCar saw a combined savings of about $750,000 in airport parking fees. These savings reinforce strong consumer demand for FlightCar, which had over 4,000 cars listed for availability in its first year spanning over 250 different makes and models.
“We’ve had several humbling moments during our first year as entrepreneurs in the sharing economy, and as we look back on our accomplishments, we are grateful to have helped so many find a less expensive and more eco-friendly way to rent cars when traveling,” said Rujul Zaparde, who co-founded FlightCar at age 17 and serves as the company’s CEO. “We’re also finding that our peer-to-peer car service is helping connect members who have share trusting neighborly values that you just don’t experience when renting a car outside the sharing economy.”
Zaparde and co-founder Kevin Petrovic are two of the youngest entrepreneurs in America to launch a company in the car-sharing industry. Together, they have witnessed impressive growth in FlightCar in its first year, and have also raised multiple rounds of financing by influential investors such as Ashton Kutcher, Alexis Ohanian, and Ryan Seacrest to help quickly expand the peer-to-peer car rental service to other cities nationwide. The founders, who both turn 20 years of age this year, believe that FlightCar not only provides financial benefits to its members, but also see how it builds social trust among communities.
“The idea that ‘if you build it, they will come’ is not necessarily true anymore. Trust matters,” said Zaparde. “You have to build social trust into your business, and among your users. It’s something that makes the FlightCar community very coveted, and is instrumental to the growth of our business.”
Harvard Innovation Lab’s Hacker in Residence, Abby Fichtner, has taken advantage of FlightCar’s free parking at Boston Logan International airport six times to save money on parking, get a free car wash and for the sheer convenience. “Parking at BOS takes forever and is super expensive so I was really excited to try FlightCar last year and now it’s the only way I travel,” said Fichtner. “Their drivers consistently go above and beyond, including saving me from missing my flight after getting stuck in Boston traffic. And I love returning home to a clean car and free airport parking.”
According to Frost & Sullivan, car sharing revenues in North America alone will hit $3.3 billion by 2016. FlightCar’s growth has been driven by letting people park for free near the airport and renting out their car to approved travelers who are offered the lowest car rental rates, the fastest service and free GPS, car seats and liability insurance up to $1 million. FlightCar also drops off and picks up both car sharers and renters in a towncar for free right at the terminal. Free parking and a car wash are offered even when FlightCar vehicle isn’t rented. With FlightCar’s members averaging around 60 miles per day, the new monthly service makes it easy for travelers on extended trips to earn up to $400 per month or up to .50 cents per driven mile. FlightCar’s rates vary depending on the year and model.