We speak to Ejaro founder Mohammed Khashoggi about the potential of the car sharing market, and the impact of COVID-19.
People aren’t as crazy about owning their own cars as they once were, and millennials consistently prefer car access to car ownership. We want our own cars, but not the commitments that come along with them. Globally, this has created a huge demand for car-sharing apps, with the MENA region slowly but surely following.
“I personally had the problem of my own vehicle being parked most of the year as I travelled, and I was paying for insurance and maintenance fees while the value of the car itself was depreciating,” Mohammed Khashoggi, founder and CEO of Ejaro tells StartupScene on how he started the GCC’s first licensed peer-to-peer car sharing app. “Traditional car rental companies were also inconvenient for me, with issues of availability, long lines, and limited variety in cars and models.”
From there, Saudi-based Ejaro was born, the first service of its kind to be fully licensed and regulated by transport authorities. Marketing themselves as the Airbnb of cars, Ejaro allows vehicle owners to rent out their personal vehicles to tourists, as well as local renters.
“Because we’re licensed, it’s allowed us to integrate with several governmental platforms for instant verification on hosts, renters and vehicles, increasing trust,” continues Khashoggi. “Also, one of our biggest achievements so far is creating the first peer-to-peer insurance policy in the Kingdom in partnership with Medgulf which covers both vehicle owners and renters with a specially designed policy that is exclusive to Ejaro’s community.”
So far, Ejaro has raised $300,000 in pre-Seed funding from angel investors and strategic partners. Since their official launch in February of 2020, Ejaro has recorded over 2000 downloads, 1450 registered users, 150 vehicle listings from individuals and 5000 from various entities (rental agents, dealerships and others). Up until the middle of March -- the global checkpoint of the Coronavirus turndown -- the startup was seeing 150% month-on-month growth.
The young startup’s small size, with a team of only 12, has shielded it from the massive blows that larger companies have been dealing with as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Ejaro is predicting large potential growth in the post-COVID economy, capitalising on a regional car rental market size of over $4 billion a year.
“Take UBER and Airbnb for example, they were a result of the 2008 financial crisis,” says Khashoggi. “With millions out of jobs and rental companies struggling, our platform empowers owners to earn an additional source of income through their depreciating asset/s and share it with the masses...I truly believe that Ejaro will boom in the coming weeks.”
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