People’s Champion finalist 2018: hiyacar

A to B in the style of Airbnb: hiyacar’s keyless service makes renting a car simpler than ever - is it your People's Champion 2018?

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Start-up name: hiyacar
Founders: Graeme Risby and Rob Lamour
Started in: 2016
Based in: London
Business description: ‘Airbnb for cars’ using cutting-edge keyless technology 

Shortlisted category:

Crowdfunded Business of the Year

The hiyacar story:

Anyone who’s rented a car will know the pitfalls: the depot is miles away, the fees are ridiculous and the franchise owners have all manner of tricks to turn a scratch into an eye-watering repair bill.

hiyacar is designed to provide a better solution. Adapting Airbnb’s game-changing model to the motoring world, its peer-to-peer marketplace connects those who need a car with those who have one to spare.

With the UK’s car fleet lying idle for 23 hours a day, hiyacar provides a way to monetise this dead time, ensuring better utilisation of the vehicles already on the road and providing a real alternative to the rental companies.

The idea was conceived by Graeme Risby, who became frustrated at the cost of maintaining a car while barely using it, and teamed up with e-commerce expert Rob Lamour.

Their marketplace is simple to use for all parties: car owners who wish to become ‘sharers’ need only enter some brief details about their vehicle to establish a profile on the site. Renters, meanwhile, are only required to enter their postcode to see the vehicles available in their area.

Yet underpinning this simple interface is a bleeding-edge technology developed by the hiyacar team. QuickStart enables renters to access a vehicle without a key, and gives sharers the power to disable the engine and lock the doors in the unlikely event of a problem.

hiyacar’s engineers come to install the technology whenever a new sharer signs up, and renters are sent a digital key to access the vehicle – which is automatically deleted after use.

With AXA providing tailored insurance cover to supersede sharers’ existing policies, Risby and Lamour have covered every angle in their attempt to create a simple, reliable solution. They take commission on each transaction, as well as a booking fee, and the business model is clearly bearing fruit.

Based in London, hiyacar wants to become as common a sight in Britain’s cities as Ubers, black cabs and rent-a-bikes. It’s already amassed a community of 50,000 drivers, and the number is heading north at a rapid rate.

As the government desperately seeks answers to Britain’s chronic congestion problem, founders Risby and Lamour have provided a hugely exciting solution.

Why hiyacar made our shortlist:

A huge part of hiyacar’s success has been the £1.7m it has raised through a string of crowdfunding rounds. The company has used this money to develop its disruptive QuickStart technology, demonstrating the efficiency which is at the core of its propostion.

In addition, we’re really impressed by the various incentives the business has rolled out to support sustainable vehicles, including a 100% commission for owners of electric vehicles.

Where to find out more about hiyacar

Twitter: @hiyacar

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