Drover is in talks with automakers and captives to list off-lease vehicles on its car rental marketplace platform for rideshare drivers, Mobility Finance has learned.
Drover’s marketplace is open to any rental company, leasing provider, car dealer, or OEM to list vehicles, Felix Leuschner, Drover’s chief executive, told Mobility Finance. “These have been fleet vehicles, and we are looking at off-lease vehicles as well,” he added. “In terms of services provided, we’re — in the end — monetizing assets [cars] effectively for their owners, whoever that may be. We do that by providing a liquid marketplace that generates utilization and earnings while providing an end-to-end software solution.”
Several automakers are already sketching plans to funnel off-lease volume into rideshare programs, including General Motors Co., according to Peter Kosak, executive director of urban mobility programs at GM. The OEM plans to use record-high lease returns as extra supply for its rideshare leasing partnership with Lyft — called Express Drive.
London-based Drover is one of five startups that participated in BMW Financial Services U.K.’s 10-week Innovation Lab, which concluded in December 2016. So far, three startups have secured commercial contracts with BMW, including Cazana, Divido, and Wrisk.
While Drover has not secured an official commercial contract with BMW Financial Services U.K. yet, the company does have BMW vehicles listed on its platform as part of a pilot project, Leuschner said.
“We still have several conversations ongoing, to see how we could scale this pilot up and do more things together [with BMW],” he said. “BMW essentially works like any other provider under our terms and conditions, but there is no specific commercial agreement yet.”
Drover, founded in 2016, offers consumers a new kind of car rental experience targeted at rideshare drivers who typically only need the vehicle for a year or less. The startup’s business model sits in between a classic three-year lease and a regular rental car company whose average rental rate is a few days, Leuschner said. Drover aims to bridge that gap; its average rental is for six months, he added.
“Basically the idea is that we provide an alternative to car ownership through flexible access,” he said. “So you can get a car for a week, for six months, or for a year — whatever time period you want.”
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