Mobile AppsMobility

Startup Showcase: HiyaCar

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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CEO Graeme Risby and CTO Rob Larmour of per-to-peer car sharing platform HiyaCar explain their big idea and startup experience

What is your company and what do you do?

HiyaCar is a hyper-local peer-peer car sharing platform – think the Airbnb for cars – which is helping individuals monetise their motors while benefiting the environment.

Unlike bigger players we are entirely fleetless, meaning we don’t add more cars to the road. Instead, we aim to help members make money from their own vehicle (an otherwise depreciating asset) by renting them out to their neighbours.

By increasing community access to a cheap hire cars, the need for others to own a car is reduced, and the total number of cars on the road decreases. Overall, it benefits the local economy and the local environment.

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For those hiring a car, they can go all the way from car selection to collection through their mobile phones, it’s completely seamless. For those who are hiring out their cars, we offer a secure platform for them to offer their cars to those in the local community.

They set their own rates and set their own times for hiring while it’s not in use. Their neighbours have access to a vehicle when needed – whether that’s a week long road trip, a weekend away at a wedding or a two-hour emergency run to IKEA!

Tell us a bit about your career to date

Graeme Risby (CEO): I have always been fascinated by cars and money! Part of the inspiration behind setting up HiyaCar was my own experience buying my first car. I scrimped and saved to buy a new £11,000 on a Fiesta Freestyle as a teenager. I later sold that car for £3,000 whilst realising that I didn’t actually use the car as much as I originally thought. I knew then that the way we buy, sell and use cars was fundamentally broken.

That thought never left me. I spent some years as a business analyst in the the City, but in 2014 I got together with Rob (Larmour, co-founder and COO) and we started preparing HiyaCar. In 2016 following successful crowdfunding campaigns, and securing a unique, comprehensive insurance policy we Axa, we launched. We are pleased to have a rapidly growing base of 22,000 users centred on London today.

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Rob Larmour (COO): Before joining HiyaCar I managed an ecommerce platform in the UK and Ireland. That experience – of processing thousands of transactions for thousands of members – has been essential for helping build and scale HiyaCar.

Two recent milestones for me has been the launch of QuickStart and the launch of our app offering. Now that each of these are live, my focus is on continuing to refine these products and ensuring they are providing the very best experience to the widest possible audience.  

What services or products do you offer and how will businesses and/or consumers benefit?

Our platform provides benefits to consumers and businesses in a number of ways. For consumers, they are able to monetize an asset that would usually be depreciating – often sat in a driveway unused, only losing value. Communities benefit by increased access to a vehicle when they need it.

We are currently building our enterprise solution and are working closely with various businesses and organisations to deliver a sharing solution that will benefit budgets and efficiency. During work hours, employees could share their cars with others in the business for a supplementary income, parking infrastructure and maintenance is reduced, leasing and insurance costs disappear, the environment benefits – the list goes on.

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Say one thing your company does that no one else can do?

QuickStart. We are the only peer to peer car sharing platform in the UK where hirers can search, book, unlock and start a car all from their smartphone. What makes QuickStart so unique is that there is no live key in the car so it is completely secure and benefits both Hirer and Owner.

Here at HiyaCar we want to see our community share their cars and not their keys. This opens up long and short duration rentals, will reduce car ownership and will attract more hirers to use electric vehicles, as range anxiety (the vehicle running out of battery before they can reach a chargepoint) is no longer an issue.

QuickStart fundamentally changes the way we can share cars. It breaks down barriers to access, increases security (remote locking and tracking are just a couple of the benefits) and allows members to easily monetise their vehicle.

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