Turo, the peer-based car rental site, expands to Canada

Turo, a US-based platform to let car owners earn money from their vehicles when they’re idle, is expanding north into Canada, starting with Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec.

The company, formerly known as RelayRides, lets people rent out their cars to pre-approved drivers.

As of today, Turo has 137 full-time employees, many working out of its new San Francisco headquarters, with offices opening in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Toronto as well. Haddad said, “Last year we grew our revenues by 3x. We plan to grow by a factor of 3x again this year.”

Localization is a key challenge facing the startup as it moves into Canada, which has many residents who identify primarily either as French speakers or as English speakers. Turo said it is targeting both language communities equally.

To gain ground, it is partnering with one of the largest Canadian insurers, Intact Financial, whose main consumer brands are Intact and Belair Direct (the largest direct-to-consumer insurance company in Canada).

At launch, policyholders of these companies will be pre-approved to rent their cars on Turo and receive coverage for roadside assistance. The brand endorsement may help make Turo seem more intriguing for novice users.

So far, Turo has avoided distribution deals, such as being part of aggregators or online travel agencies. It has relied instead on the less expensive marketing channel of organic traffic, which the company said is often driven by word-of-mouth referrals and search engine marketing.

Haddad said that the vast majority of his company’s acquired customers are currently coming through its native apps for Android and Apple. “Turo’s app has been heavily featured by the Apple App store during the last three months.”

Canada is the only international market Turo is targeting for 2016, CEO Andre Haddad told Tnooz. But he expects it will enter multiple countries within the next several years.

He added:

“International growth is a big priority for our company. But deciding on timing is tricky. We have to balance team-readiness and the capital-intensive financials with other factors…. But the context is that we feel we’ve achieved product market fit at home, which allows us to engage in expansion abroad.”

It was only last November when Turo landed a $47 million Series C investment round.

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Sean O'Neill

About the Writer :: Sean O'Neill

Sean O’Neill had roles as a reporter and editor-in-chief at Tnooz between July 2012 and January 2017.

 

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  1. John Adkison

    Owners beware: Turo does not cover diminished market value. Take it from someone who has experience with them when they were called RelayRides.

     
 
 

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