Europe seems to be creating peer-to-peer car rental marketplaces at a rate of knots. There’s heavily-funded Drivy in France, Snappcar in the Netherlands, GoMore in Denmark, and Rentacarlo in the U.K., to name a few.
The latest is Norway’s Nabobil, which opened its doors four months ago and today is disclosing that it’s raised a $600,000 seed round. Backing comes from an undisclosed group of angel investors — though I understand one is a former McKinsey director. The new capital will be used by the Norwegian startup to expand to an additional country and release a mobile app.
The burgeoning company also recently made a decent hire. It’s poached Even Heggernes from Airbnb, where I’m told he was Country Manager for the Nordics/U.K.
“There’s about 2.5 million private cars in Norway and most of them are idle cars that stand still 23 out of 24 hours a day. We let owners of these cars monetize that idle time by renting them out on an hourly or daily basis to people in their neighbourhood,” Nabobil CMO and co-founder Chris Moen tells TechCrunch. (Nabobil means neighbor’s car in Norwegian.)
“It’s zero risk for the car owners through our insurance policy with our partner and car renters get access to their own virtual garage with cars of all genres,” he adds.
Although it’s early days, on the demand-side Nabobil’s typical users have an average age of 34 and don’t own a car, though Moen says that more recently that age range has been expanding with an influx of car renters who span 23, the minimum age to hire a car, to people 65 or over.
“One of the reasons for that is the wide range of cars we have, if you want a car to help you move – we got that, a car with 4×4 for your camping trip or a small city car. Also, the usual price on our cars which is on average 50 per cent less than traditional car rental companies,” he says.
Meanwhile, Nabobil’s business model is a typical online marketplace play. Car owners retain 80 per cent of the rental income and 20 per cent goes to cover insurance, administrative costs and the startup’s margin.