For decades, business travelers and millions of other Americans looking to get away have paid to park their cars at an airport garage before catching a flight to a specific destination. Upon arrival, those same individuals have been forced to fork over more money – sometimes a lot more – to rent a vehicle from one of several car rental companies to get around.
Fortunately, a team of newly minted high school graduates has come up with a concept to change this model. Launched in February 2012, FlightCar allows travelers who park at the airport to rent their cars to other travelers. Travelers who opt to rent out their vehicles are guaranteed free parking at the airport and can also earn gas credits if their car is rented.
FlightCar was founded by 18-year old entrepreneurs Kevin Petrovic, Rajul Zaparde, and Shri Ganeshram with the help of Cincinnati-based consumer marketing venture accelerator The Brandery. The Brandery provides funding, mentors, resources, and other assistance to start-ups that seek to solve market problems or inefficiencies. FlightCar, according to the founders of The Brandery, fit the bill. “The business solves such a glaring inefficiency in the market,” said Brandery co-founder Rob McDonald in an interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer. “The FlightCar team is incredible.”
FlightCar claims its service is up to 50 percent cheaper than rental agencies such as Hertz and Enterprise, and the company also provides free amenities including GPS devices and car seats for child passengers. In order to participate in the program, renters must provide their driver information including license and registration and undergo a background check. According to FlightCar, every rental is insured up to $1 million.
FlightCar officially launched in San Francisco and has plans to roll out its service across the United States.