WhipCar, a UK-based service which launched a few years back to allow consumers to borrow a neighbour’s vehicle, is no more after shutting its doors this week.
Launched in April 2010 with a vision to tap into what it believed was an abundance of cars often unused for large portions of the average week, it turns out that the “scale” issue has caught up with its founders and the service has now closed.
The potential numbers were huge: 30 million passenger cars in the UK alone which were only used for 4.6 hours a week, leading to what it believed was a multi-billion dollar market in the next few years.
The early signs were good, at least in terms of securing Â£1 million in investment from Delta Partners. Other players have come along in the meantime, such asÂ GoCarShare (TLabs here) and Carpooling (TLabs here).
But, three years in, WhipCar has decided to call it a day, citing what it says are “still barriers to widespread adoption of peer-to-peer car rental in the UK”.
Having a “small team with limited resources” meant that the “scaling challenges” could not covered off, thus the decision to draw the curtains on the company.
“In many ways, WhipCar has been a success. We were able to shift commonly-held perceptions of car sharing and ownership with the help of so many integral WhipCar community members.
“We have been able to boast that drivers in urban areas such as central London could access convenient, cost-effective and friendly WhipCar rentals within five minutes of their doorstep.”
Nevertheless, it adds:
“Weâ€™re proud to have had a chance to push the boundaries of the sharing economy, and we canâ€™t wait to see where it heads next.”