Owning or driving a car can offer the ultimate freedom, but that doesn’t mean it’s all fun and games. From buying and selling cars to keeping them clean, there’s always some auto business to be taken care of, and a flurry of auto startups are here to help out.
For the Cher Horowitzes of the world, the startup Luxe can provide you with valet service everywhere you go, so you’ll never be forced to parallel park in platforms, ever again. However, if you’re still planning to maneuver into your own spot, Parker can ease some parking anxiety by finding paid parking, empty spots, or navigating street parking rules wherever you are. For those with big plans, ParkWhiz allows users to prepay (with a discount) for spots at the airport, special events, or in cities all over the country.
To quell the uneasy “this must be a con” feeling often associated with buying or selling a previously-owned car, Shift and Beepi offer streamlined platforms to connect car buyers to car sellers. Both startups aim for transparency, include a rigorous car inspection, and conveniently deliver cars for test drives and purchase.
Carting the kiddies
Kids know how to do a lot of things these days, but unfortunately, they still can’t drive themselves to their own engagements. HopSkipDrive, founded by three business professionals who are also moms, allows you set up rides for kids, so that vetted, experienced CareDrivers get them to their activities. Currently, service is only available in LA and Orange County, but will be coming soon to San Francisco and the East Bay.
Insurance is not the most whimsical part of driving, but it’s necessary. If you’re looking for the quickest way to compare insurance prices, The Zebra offers the largest price comparison database in the US, with instant quotes from over 200 companies.
Meanwhile, Metromile is a startup founded on the basic logic that the biggest risk factor in auto insurance is how much time you spend on the road. They provide a wireless device that collects your driving mileage and charges you based on the miles you drive.
If you’re driving an EV long distances, you know how important it is to be able to charge your battery. PlugShare is an app that shows a map of over 40,000 charging locations, public and private (many electric car enthusiasts are game to share their home charging stations) across the US and Canada, and even more around the world.
For those who prefer the open source, community-built version, Open Charge Map offers detailed information on the capabilities of charging stations, including photos, as well as a navigation function for accessing charge sites.
A trip to the car wash can is never what you’re hoping to do with your free time. Instead, while your car is hanging out doing nothing at work or at home, you can schedule a professional to come by and give it a solid cleaning — in the case of Wype, a totally waterless one. This is great news for the average busy person, but could also be a huge perk for Turo car owners.
These startups tend to be pretty localized, but for those out west, Wype and Squeegy provide on-site washes in the Los Angeles area, and Washos is available in LA, San Francisco, and Las Vegas. Spiffy makes cars sparkle in North Carolina, and Washé gives cars the towel treatment in Boca Raton, FL.