The Airbnb of Cars Expands Into Equipment and Perks

Turo, the San Francisco-based company that lets people rent out their vehicles to strangers via an app, has added a new feature that gives users access to “extras” they might need on a trip from camping gear and bike racks to child seats and prepaid fueling.

Turo announced its new “Extras” feature Wednesday. People renting out their vehicles on the app can earn more by providing extras. However, Turo gets something in return, too. Hosts set their own prices and keep 90% of money earned renting out these extras. Turo gets the remainder.

That is lower than Turo’s typical take rate, which ranges from 15% to 35% of the trip, depending on which insurance package the host selects.

There is an important caveat, however. Turo’s protection plans don’t cover extras. The company recommends hosts to set clear guidelines with guests on how to use them and the return condition they expect.

Some extras fall under the convenience category. Hosts can add items like prepaid refueling, unlimited mileage, and post-trip cleaning.

The move illustrates how car sharing companies, including peer-to-peer ones like Turo are looking for ways to differentiate and lure more users — both hosts and renters — to the app. Car-sharing, once viewed as disruptor to the rental business and even car ownership, comes with its own set of challenges.

For instance, on BMW’s car-sharing service has hit some headwinds in Brooklyn, its busiest market. The company announced Tuesday that it’s canceling its free-floating car sharing service in the New York City borough. BMW’s ReachNow car-sharing service will end free-floating service June 5. It will continue its residential fleet services.

In September, Turo raised $92 million and acquired Croove, a car-sharing service launched in Germany in 2016 by Mercedes-Benz.

The Series D funding round was led by Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler and South Korean conglomerate SK Holdings. Liberty Mutual Strategic Ventures and Founders Circle Capital joined the round as well as existing investors August Capital, Canaan Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, GV, Trinity Ventures, and Shasta Ventures.

The Series D round brought the company’s total funding to $205 million.

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