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Kiwi tech start-up revs up the US rental car industry

19 Nov 14

A Kiwi free rental car company is making waves in the United States, as its popularity in New Zealand soars.

While rental car companies need to position their fleet for new hires and have to spend large amounts of money on relocating cars using truck or rail haulage, Transfercar connects rental car companies with travellers, offering the traveller free one-way car hire.

“We’ve created a website that connects rental car companies needing to transfer their cars with travellers eager to drive them in exchange for a free trip,” says Pascal Languillon, Transfercar chief marketing officer.

“This model provides a win-win solution where travellers get a free one-way car or campervan hire while rental companies save big money on relocation costs,’’ he says.

The company gets a small fee from rental operators for each successful transfer.

The concept for Transfercar was hatched in 2007 by Espen Grimstad, at that time a student at Auckland University Business School, and his lecturer Brian Karlson. Since then, the business has created a new market in New Zealand, successfully contended against a handful of competitors in Australia and recently gained ‘first mover’ advantage in the US market.

Earlier this year, Transfercar raised $450,000 private investment from US entrepreneur Dennis Round to fund their expansion into the US market. Since its launch in August, the concept is winning fans in America with Transfercar having recently been featured in popular websites Lifehacker.com and Springwise.com and gaining ground with domestic US roadtrippers.

The company is planning to consolidate the US market and then look at other opportunities globally.

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