P2P Airport Car Rental Company FlightCar Raises $5.5 Million

FlightCar is a startup that is change the landscape in the airport car rental business.  The company allows travelers that are leaving town to make their cars available for people that are visiting town.  FlightCar piloted their service at the San Francisco International Airport a few months ago and has plans to expand to other cities over the next year.

The company has raised $5.5 million in Series A funding from General Catalyst, Softbank Capital, Brian Chesky (Airbnb founder and CEO), Seacrest Global Group (Ryan Seacrest’s venture arm), Alexis Ohanian (Hipmunk founder), Garry Tan (Posterous founder), Harj Taggar (Auctomatic founder), Emmett Shear (Justin.TV co-founder), Erik Blachford (former Expedia CEO), Andreessen Horowitz, and First Round Capital.

FlightCar previously raised $590,000 in a seed round of funding from Y Combinator and SV Angel.

To use FlightCar, travelers drop their vehicles off at a FlightCar lot at an airport where available.  Visitors that come in can rent the vehicles at lower rates than they would find at airport rental chains.  If a car is rented, then the vehicle’s owner is compensated with gas cards that is equal up to $10 for each day that the car is rented.  If the car is not rented, the vehicle’s owner gets free parking.  The cars must have been made by 1999 and must have less than 150,000 miles to be listed.  FlightCar provides a free wash for all of the cars that are listed on the website.  Travelers also receive a valet service to and from the airport for when cars and picked up and dropped off.  The service has a $1 million insurance policy for owners and renters.

FlightCar co-founder Shri Ganeshram said that the new funding round will be used for hiring new engineering and design talent.  The funding will also be used to speed up the launch in new markets.  The Boston airport is most likely going to get the service next since Ganeshram is moving to Cambridge to recruit new employees.  Other co-founders at FlightCar include Rujul Zaparde and Kevin Petrovic.  The three co-founders were only 18 years old when the company was founded.  They are hoping to hire from engineering talent that is at M.I.T.

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