As we bid adieu to 2017 and look forward to the promise of a new year, I’m so proud of the strides we’ve made this year to enhance the quality of the marketplace and to turn Turo into a household name. While 2016 was a year full of firsts — our first international launch, our first major, mainstream, pop-culture partnership with HBO’s Silicon Valley, our first anniversary as Turo — 2017 has been categorized by our accelerating momentum as a product and a brand. Our signups and rental days have more than doubled this year, and the number of vehicles being shared by Turo hosts around the world has climbed to over 200,000 in 2017.
We’ve made huge strides both to improve the experience of using the marketplace for our customers — from the new Host Hub to the launch of Turo Business Class — as well as to increase brand awareness across the country and around the world, with our debut TV commercial.
Without further ado, here’s my take on 2017’s greatest hits.
After a bustling first year north of the border, we were thrilled to celebrate our first Canada-versary. We celebrated the various mile-markers of our inaugural year, noticing that in the first year alone, a whopping $60,000,000 worth of cars were put to better use via Turo, with 2,800 cars listed by private owners — including over 400 unique makes and models like the Tesla Model S, the Porsche 911, and the Bentley Continental GT. Additionally, 1,500,000 km were driven throughout the Great White North by travelers benefitting from the Turo marketplace, and those numbers have grown tremendously in the latter half of the year. We also hosted a panel discussion in Toronto in April with some leaders in the automotive space from Carnegie-Mellon University, BMW iVentures, and our Canadian insurance partner, Intact, positioning Turo as a thought leader and overall mover and shaker in the vanguard of the Canadian mobility space.
On the product side, we’d been intrigued by business travelers for a while. From a host’s perspective, business travelers represent one of the most reliable and responsible customer segments out there, while from a business traveler’s perspective, Turo offers cooler cars and a better experience at a better price than many traditional corporate options. It seemed like a perfect fit, so this fall we launched Turo Business Class, a carefully curated collection of cars handpicked for busy professionals and for rent from the crème de la crème of Turo hosts. Early results indicate business travelers love it, with Business Class listings garnering over a quarter of a bookings since launch.
And speaking of the product, I’m personally delighted with the new Host Hub. As an active Turo host myself, I’ve been jonesing for a one-stop shop where I can see everything I need to manage my Turo business. Previously, I eagerly awaited my monthly earnings email like every other Turo host — now I can see my earnings anytime I’d like! But what I’m even more excited about is the “Performance” tab. Turo is more than just dollars and cents; it’s about providing guests with a first-class, all-star experience in a unique car. And now, we’re giving our hosts the tools to track their qualitative performance — including five-star review rate and commitment rate — as well as their quantitative performance, so they can continue to learn, improve, and delight.
As we make the Turo product more and more sophisticated and our community becomes more and more savvy, we decided it was about time to shine a national spotlight on our sophisticated product, our savvy community, and our cherished brand. Starting in mid-November, we started running ads on television in the US! The goal of the campaign is to get the Turo brand in front of more people, bring more awareness to our dynamic host community and their amazing cars, and show the country how they can offset the cost of car ownership by sharing their cars just a few days per month. We ran the spots throughout the holidays, and hosts saw some nice boosts in their bookings. We’re excited about TV as a marketing channel, and will continue to explore new executions in 2018.
And speaking of the small screen, Turo rubbed shoulders with the silver screen earlier this year as we partnered with Paramount Pictures for the premiere of their high octane action flick, xXx: Return of Xander Cage. We were able to list one of the original 1967 Pontiac GTOs from the first installment of the hit franchise, which ultimately became the hero car of the third film. We also interviewed Thom, the passionate Pontiac lover who had gone to great lengths to procure the movie car for his personal collection, as well as curated the Xander Cage Adrenaline Collection — a souped-up selection of some of the fastest whips with the most tooth and growl on the marketplace — for all those automotive adrenaline junkies out there.
And in case you missed it, we had a pretty exciting announcement in early September — to the tune of $92 million in Series D funding. In addition to the sheer excitement at the number, we were equally excited by our swath of new and existing investors. The round was co-led by Mercedes-Benz manufacturer, Daimler, and one of South Korea’s largest conglomerates, SK Holdings, bringing invaluable strategic guidance as we gear up to expand farther into Europe and Asia. Liberty Mutual Strategic Ventures also joined the Turo family, helping us navigate the insurance landscape in the US, as well as Founders Circle Capital. From Daimler, we also acquired Croove, the peer-to-peer car sharing marketplace in Germany, meaning that we’re Deutschland-bound in the near future.
Basking in the afterglow (and exhaustion!) of the announcement, I also reflected on my years fundraising for startups, sharing my insights with entrepreneurs trying to build their own businesses.
Lastly, 2017 saw a real ratcheting up of traditional rental car companies waging war against Turo. Enterprise Rent-A-Car has been aggressively attacking us across the US, insinuating that Turo hosts should be subject to the same taxes and fees that they are. Equating individual car owners with a huge enterprise like Enterprise is unfair and seems like a catty way to quash legitimate competition from emerging economic models. But you can help! I encourage the entire Turo community to become Turo advocates by joining OpenRoad, a hub for public policy advocacy, where we’ll keep you apprised of developments around peer-to-peer car sharing policies in your city and how you can help.
Yes, it’s been quite a year, and I can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store.
*Monthly finance amount based on MSRP over 72 month term, 4.74% APR, 5% down payment. Average monthly earnings based on average Turo owner earnings between November 2016 and October 2017. Individual results may vary.