Car sharing service Getaround has raised $45 million in Series C funding, led by a new investor Braemar Energy Ventures, and with participating from Toyota Motor Corp and China’s SAIC Motor. The round also includes existing investors Menlo Ventures and Triangle Peak Partners, and is all about helping Getaround continue its new strategy of partnering with big transportation players globally, with an eye towards eventually making it easy for people to gain instant access to self-driving vehicles wherever they are.
Getaround has been doing a lot of partnering lately – the company just recently announced a deal with Uber that will allow drivers to easily pick up one of its fleet parked around San Francisco and do some Uber pick-ups. It also partnered with Toyota in October (which is when it first revealed the automaker was making a strategic investment in the company, too). The carmaker is building Getaround incentives into its lease agreements, as a way to help offer the cost of ownership by making it easy for vehicle owners to put money from renting their vehicle on Getaround directly towards lease payments.
Getaround also has a partnership in place with Mercedes-Benz, including payment rebates when new vehicle owners also rent their cars on the platform. Getaround wants to make this kind of thing much more broadly available across carmaker partners, with technology that makes rentals possible built-in to cars as they roll of the assembly lines, and it hopes this funding will help it get there.
You can see how that would enable a future where it would be easy to find and access autonomous vehicles. Getaround seems focused now on providing the software and hardware integration layer that will make that possible once the autonomous tech is in place, and in the meantime, it offers an interesting way for carmakers to reduce ownership costs and potentially defray some of the gradual declines we’ve seen in that part of the industry.