Can’t Airbnb the house? How ’bout the car, its roof, its headrest, your parking spot…

Nowadays, your car can be a business with multiple revenue streams. Whether it should be is another discussion.

Sure, disrupting Enterprise and its 1.7m-strong fleet of rental cars will be hard. But if the 117m+ American households that own at least one car all join forces…

Number of Turo hosts over time

Well, you get the idea.

That’s the thesis behind Turo, the “Airbnb for cars,” which, according to The Wall Street Journal, is now being used by some entrepreneurs to operate their own little rental enterprises.

On Turo, ~15% of hosts list three or more vehicles. On Getaround, a competitor, ~70% of cars are owned by “power hosts.” (One host offers 1k cars, which just seems mildly stressful.)

For rent: Just about everything

Turo is part of a growing list of companies Airbnb-ifying cars in more ways than one, including through:

  • The roof: Firefly, which has raised $53m, sells and operates digital car-top advertising units for taxis and ride-share vehicles. Both Uber and Lyft also offer this directly.
  • The parking: SpotHero has sold $1B+ in parking reservations, and the younger AirGarage has raised $14.8m for its full-service parking management platform.
  • The center console: Cargo raised $40m for its “snack boxes for Uber passengers” business — though it reportedly pivoted to car-top ads in 2020.
  • The headrest: Octopus, which T-Mobile acquired last year, offers touch screens to display ride info and entertainment to Uber and Lyft passengers.

It ain’t just cars, either. As of last year, 6m+ people had used campsite-finder Hipcamp (basically Airbnb for people who are OK with bugs). Swimply, which started out as a pool marketplace, has expanded to yards, pickleball, tennis, and basketball courts.

Another company, Boatsetter, offers access to 50k boats and has helped 500k+ first-time boaters go boating since 2012. Also, we just said “boat” four times in one sentence, and will not be saying it again for at least a month.

Topics: Transportation

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