RelayRides Buys Wheelz; Car-Sharing Service Acquires Competitor To Expand Market Share

on May 14 2013 9:05 AM

RelayRides Peer-to-peer car-sharing service RelayRides is acquiring Wheelz, a San Francisco, Calif., startup that also connects users with nearby rental cars, the company announced Tuesday.  RelayRides/Facebook

Peer-to-peer car-sharing service RelayRides is acquiring Wheelz, a San Francisco, Calif., startup that also connects users with nearby rental cars, the company announced Tuesday.

While financial terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed, it is clear that RelayRides financial backers have agreed to carry over their investments to Wheelz.

RelayRides helps connect consumers in need of a ride with those in their community with a car to spare. Users rent a neighbor's car by the hour, day or even the week. The company raised more than $13 million in venture capital funding from Google Ventures (GOOG), August Capital, Shasta Ventures and General Motors Ventures (GM).

The acquisition is a plus for the company, as it will not only increase its market share, but will also give it access to a state-of-the-art technology called DriveBox -- a mobile entry feature that allows users to lock/unlock the car using their cellphones. The technology allows car owners and renters to share rides without ever having to meet in person to swap keys.

"Our vision isn't to stop at the car rental market," RelayRides CEO Andre Haddad said in a statement. "It's really to help disrupt the concept of car ownership by enabling people to rent cars whenever they need them and access [cars] on a need basis rather than having to buy one."

While data for car sharing indicates a significant increase in popularity over the last year, Haddad hopes to have a RelayRides car within a 10-minute walk of more than 100 million Americans by the end of 2015.

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