SAN FRANCISCO, California — As Americans waste more fuel and spend more time stuck in traffic than ever before, the founder of car-sharing service Getaround says her startup is leading the way towards a future that’s less reliant on owning a car.
Jessica Scorpio, 29, started Getaround so drivers could share their personal cars when they're not in use — making the owner extra cash while reducing the number of cars on the road.
"We saw a big opportunity to make better use of the cars we already own," Scorpio told NBC News correspondent Olivia Sterns at the startup's San Francisco headquarters. "There's a billion cars that sit idle 23 hours a day, and it's just a really underutilized asset. So we started about five years ago building the hardware technology to make this platform a reality."
Scorpio sees car-sharing — alongside ride-sharing and self-driving cars — as critical to a future in which people aren't so tightly tied to their automobiles.
"The car industry and the future of mobility is really changing. Very quickly. Basically you're seeing a shift from ownership which has been very predominant, over to access," Scorpio said.
In the Bay Area, there are more than 2,000 vehicles available to book through Getaround — an average of one on every block, according to Scorpio. And even she's taking part in sharing her vehicles.
"A few years ago, I owned no cars and I'd never owned a car in my entire life," says Scorpio, with a laugh. "And I now have seven today."
All seven of her cars, which include an Audi A4 and Mini Cooper, are available to be booked on Getaround.
All Getaround trips include insurance, the cost of which is included in the rental price. The company screens its drivers, and has a rating and review system.
Getaround is in 11 U.S. cities now and has raised more than $43 million from investors, including from big names like Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt and Yahoo's Marissa Mayer. And Scorpio is optimistic about the company’s expansion. Getaround plans to widen its reach to other cities later this year.
“In five years we’re going to be in every major city around the world, I would say.”