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Team From Tesla, Better Place, and Mercedes-Benz Poised to Disrupt Fast-Growing Car Sharing Market With Launch of WheelzWheelz Delivers a Fresh Take on Peer-to-Peer Car Sharing Model, Targeted at College Campuses (September 28, 2011)
PALO ALTO, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 09/28/11 -- Wheelz -- the campus car sharing platform to connect students with cars to students who need cars -- introduces a fresh take on peer-to-peer car sharing with the launch of its service at Stanford University. The team behind Wheelz brings a wealth of automotive expertise from Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, Better Place, and Stanford's Solar Car program, as well as tech expertise from Google and Amazon. The Wheelz technology and service platform connects people safely and easily through deep Facebook integration, a full-featured iPhone app, and the power of its proprietary in-car DriveBox hardware system.
"Our mission is to transform the traditional, inefficient model of car ownership. Most cars are parked 23 out of 24 hours a day -- which makes no sense. We make it safe, convenient, profitable, and fun for car owners to share their wheels with friends and peers," said Jeff Miller, Co-Founder & CEO, Wheelz. "We all remember what it's like to struggle to find a car in college, or to own a car that you can barely afford to maintain. The winning P2P model must simultaneously meet the needs of car owners and drivers. To date, nobody has really executed well on this promise -- we see that as our opportunity."
Wheelz has been working in stealth on the concept since early 2011, with $2M in seed funding from an investment consortium led by Chamath Palihapitiya. Palihapitiya was previously Vice President of User Growth, Mobile and International at Facebook before leaving to found the Social+Capital Partnership venture fund. Investors include Jim Freer (former vice-chair of Ernst & Young), Sebastien De Halleax (Founder of Playfish), Felicis Ventures, Red Swan Ventures, among other leading angels.
"Social is changing every industry in a profound way, and we believe this is the team that's going to revolutionize the concept of car ownership, turning cars from financial burdens into opportunities," said Chamath Palihapitiya, Founder of the Social+Capital Partnership. "I invested in Wheelz on the strength of the executive team and its thoughtful approach to building this business and bringing it to market."
Wheelz leverages Facebook throughout its product experience. Sharing cars is fundamentally a social experience; Wheelz' Facebook integration ensures the community is secure through identity verification and allowing car owners and borrowers to see how they're connected to one another. The proprietary technology platform is tailored specifically for peer-to-peer car sharing, and builds upon the affinity and trust that already exists within campus communities.
"I've spent my career developing mobile computing technologies that better car experiences; Wheelz offers the perfect opportunity to apply technology to meaningfully change the way people own and drive cars," said Akhtar Jameel, Wheelz Co-Founder, CTO, and former CEO of Mercedes-Benz R&D in North America.
Key Features of the Wheelz service include:
- Free, instant member sign-ups facilitated by Facebook so you can sign up and start driving right away
- Instant, automated DMV checks to ensure responsible drivers
- Fully-featured iPhone app to enable on-the-go reservations and unlocking, without key exchanges
- Proprietary in-car DriveBox hardware solution that works across vehicle makes and models
- Owner and driver ratings to ensure transparency and encourage responsible behavior
- A $1 million insurance policy providing complete coverage during rentals
- Comprehensive 24/7 roadside assistance from Wheelz' customer service team, the Wheelz Pit Crew
Wheelz launched on the Stanford campus Monday, exclusively to those with a Stanford.edu email address. Wheelz has a variety of vehicles equipped and ready to share on campus, ranging from a 1974 Volkswagen Thing to a 2002 Audi TT to a 2003 Chevy Suburban.
"I never imagined how easy it could be for me to find a car on campus for errands, dates, job interviews or weekend trips," said Kevin Xu, Class of 2013, Computer Science. "I love the variety of cars, and the fact that I'm borrowing a car from someone who's already in my network."
For more info and to start sharing or driving with Wheelz today, please visit http://wheelz.com.
Wheelz is a campus car sharing platform connecting students with cars to students who need them. Offering instant sign up, easy set up for car owners and the largest and most diverse campus fleet on the market, Wheelz delivers the wheels you want, when you want them.
Wheelz is headquartered in Palo Alto, CA. For more information, please visit wheelz.com.
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