The Story of Car Next Door

[ Will Davies at DEPOTnext 11 October ]
by Tyson Cobb Published

Car Next Door lets people rent their cars out to strangers. It's like Airbnb but for cars. Let Will Davies take you through the Car Next Door story - how they got it on the road, the first 500 users and first $650k in funding. What did Will learn along the way? Find out more by watching his recent presentation from DEPOTnext 11th October at Brisbane Powerhouse.

Learn more from Will's answers to a few of your questions

1. How did you get the first 5 cars on the platform after friends and family?

Wentworth courier (small local paper) - got editorial, Bondi Farmers markets, Letter box drop.

Then we just had a sign up form on our site, and when someone gave us details we called them up and talked them into giving it a shot!

2. What’s the average time from first contact to subscribing for a typical new customer?

Borrowers - its fast - most join at the same time they hit our website

Owners - typically takes them 2 -3 visits and 3-5 days to list after they have hit our site.

3. What does he think the impact of driverless cars (which are coming) will have on the business?

I think they are going to change everything. I think 95% of trips will be driverless within 10 years and that no one will own cars (companies will own fleets of them instead). I think Car Next Door has a great userbase of early adopter Transport as a Service (TaaS) users that will be the first to transition to a driverless cars when they arrive and we plan on partnering with a driverless car competitor to help give them a head start.

4. What's the strategy to deal with autonomous vehicles coming in the next 5-10 years?

As above.

5. What about the Gold Coast for car next door?

Getting started there in the next month. We think it has huge potential, and get a lot of interest there already.

6. What happens if the car comes back filthy or just minor damage

You call / email us with pics - we investigate then fine the borrower and compensate the owner + Fix the issue.

7. Is it getting easier to admit you've stuffed up and move on now?

- Easier and harder.... Easier because Ive had more practice at stuffing up - so whats 1 extra stuff up, and Harder because the stuff ups cost more and each new experiment needs more coordination and effort so the incentive is to keep going longer!

8. How do the people get to the cars they are hiring?

- Watch this.

9. Where does the liability sit as far as car insurance goes? Was this an issue?

- This is best explained in our FAQ!

10. What was his experience of raising the first $650k and how long did it take?

- It was mainly family and friends and old business acquaintances. It was a long process (it always has been).

Read this - its awesome - it will teach you everything you need to get that first chunk raised (about 1 hour read time)

11. What was year process to build year two-sided marketplace and what were yr biggest learnings in that step.

- I kind of answered that on stage. We geographically restricted ourselves so that we only had to worry about building a network in Bondi (rather than the whole of sydney or the whole of australia). Then we only had to get borrowers and cars in this area, it made it 'doable' - we built a network in this small area, and then used that to raise capital to expand out.

12. Why raise money initially and dilute shareholding instead of investing your own money? Was the key reason risk?

- I did invest my own money, I put in the first $250k in cash and that probably saved 30% of our equity. But my money isnt limitless.

Also, being able to raise capital is a good way to test to see if your idea is any good. If I cant raise capital then maybe ive got my rose-coloured glasses on and maybe im not onto a good idea?

13. What does Car next door look like in 5 & 10 year?

5 years - 10,000 cars, 750,000 borrowers, in all major cities in Australia and doing 10s of thousands of bookings a month! 

Tyson Cobb
read more by Tyson Cobb

Tyson Cobb is a B2B marketer, inbound marketing specialist and content marketing enthusiast. He has spent over 10 years in marketing and advertising, and has worked across many facets of strategic marketing and brand strategies. He has had the privilege of working with many Australian companies across a variety of industries including financial, entertainment, property development, hospitality and professional services. Tys now specialises in Inbound Marketing methodologies and marketing strategy in the B2B space.

As Director of businessDEPOT Marketing, Tys and his team help small to medium businesses by taking on the stresses of marketing and help move their business from where it is now, to where it needs to be.

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