A car sharing app called Fleet is to car rental what Airbnb is to holiday accommodation. The app is the brainchild of a Wicklow entrepreneur and it allows car owners to earn extra income by renting cars to the public from their driveway.
It was launched last year and today it hopes to raise funds through Ireland's first equity crowdfunding platform.
Fleet CEO, Maurice Sheehy, explained how the app works. "We enable car owners to list their vehicle on our platform so that they can earn additional revenue from that vehicle and improve the utilisation of it."
Vehicles in Ireland sit idle over 95% of the time. "When we look at the cost of car ownership in Ireland, on average, every car owner is spending over €10,000 per year on the upkeep of their car between fuel costs, tax, NCT, insurance and depreciation. It's a huge cost," he said. "We enable individuals, and businesses that have vehicles, to list on our platform and rent them out to other individuals who may not be able to afford owning a car."
Fleet takes care of everything for both parties. There is no paperwork, he said. "We have an exclusive partnership with Axa Ireland, and every rental transaction that goes through the platform comes with fully comprehensive insurance and 24/7 breakdown assistance, so you can rest assured that you are fully protected whether you are the car owner or the driver."
Mr Sheehy wants Fleet to be as community based as possible, and would like to see neighbours renting cars from neighbours, friends renting cars from friends. "A lot of people that are renting, know the individual that they are renting to," he said.
Fleet currently has a set daily rate, but they are exploring the option for hourly rental rates. "We are very competitive on the daily rental prices, and they are coming in at 60% lower than traditional car rental so daily rates is where we are at at the minute."
Fleet is hoping to raise money on Spark Crowdfunding, a new equity crowdfunding platform. Equity crowdfunding allows to invest in start-ups. "Equity crowdfunding appealed to us because it not only gets our brand out there, it not only allows us to raise money, but these investors essentially become brand ambassadors and loyal customers for us," he said.
An investor receives equity in a company that they invest in. Fleet hopes to be paying dividends out in 3 to 5 years. It will use the funding to build its team and to expand internationally. "We are in talks to license our product to a few different regions in Europe and Asia at the minute, and that's what the funds will go to," Mr Sheehy said.