RelayRides Raises $5M For Car Sharing 2.0

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Neighbor to neighbor car sharing startup RelayRides has raised a little over $5 million of a planned close to $6 million round of funding, according to a filing. This is the round that RelayRides announced back in December and was led by Google Ventures and August Capital, but the company didn’t disclose the size of the round at that time. (RelayRides CEO Shelby Clark will be speaking at our Green:Net 2011 event on April 21 in San Francisco, about the idea of collaborative consumption).

RelayRides connects people who want to loan out their cars, with people who want to use cars on demand. Think Zipcar, but with your neighbors. Other startups who have recently been building similar “car sharing 2.0” services include Spride Share.

For RelayRides, car owners set their own hourly rate and get 65 percent of the fee, while RelayRides takes a 15 percent cut. The remaining 20 percent goes toward insurance. For companies like RelayRides and Spride Share, insurance is one of the biggest bugaboos. Until recently, insurance regulations in California and other states allowed insurance companies to void a vehicle owner’s insurance policy if the car was rented out to others.

In September, however, legislation called AB 1871 passed in California that establishes rules for when a vehicle owner’s insurance policy stops applying, and when a commercial policy held by a service provider like RelayRides would kick in. RelayRides holds a $1 million supplemental insurance policy that goes into effect during each reservation period.

Clark told me in an email Monday afternoon that the funding will go toward: “building out our team and infrastructure, and fostering the development of an even stronger community of car owners and borrowers.”

RelayRides is part of a growing trend in which companies are using the web and cell phones to help people share “stuff.” Clark and AirBnB co-founder Joe Gebbia will talk about this new “collaborative consumption” ecosystem at Green:Net.

Watch our video interview and demo of RelayRides from our Green Overdrive show:

For more research on the intersection of green and IT check out GigaOM Pro (subscription required):

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Great to see that this concept is picking up in the bay area. I believe that people sharing their cars can definitely make a huge impact on the environment. I have been involved in the user testing for a similar company and I love their idea and the product. I totally feel that P2P is the next big thing.

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