Zuru car sharing platform that launched in Nairobi last year is rapidly building using user numbers with more than 200 vehicles but customers far outweigh supply.
The company’s CEO Rawlings Otini said they are working to improve vehicle listings to balance demand and across various towns.
The platform is available for free for car owners for the first four months before a commission is negotiated.
Zuru lets car owners earn money by renting their cars to those who need them while allowing customers to get verified car owners.
Across the country, travelers choose from a unique selection of nearby cars, while car owners earn extra money and help fuel the adventures of travelers they meet along the way. Travelers can rent the perfect vehicle for their next adventure, and car owners can turn their depreciating assets into earning engines.
“Our goal is to connect drivers to a car, when and where they want them in a sustainable way,” says CEO and founder of Zuru Rawlings Otini.
The app was launched in 2020 but Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the growth of the app as more car owners seek to tap their cars for an extra income while social distance in PSVs compelled people to look for alternative transport.
We help car owners put their idle cars to better use. On average owners make Sh50,000 a month while renting out their cars that would otherwise be depreciating.
For travelers, we offer an incredible selection of cars at amazing prices and in several locations, in both cities and airports. Traveling with a Zuru car is a unique experience as travelers connect with their hosts, a neighbor or a local that makes the travel experience much more personal and memorable.
The company hopes to encourage people to buy less cars and use their car less, at a time when studies show that primary school children could die up to six months early due to their lifetime exposure to air pollution. In Kenya, 18,000 people, including many children, die every year from air pollution
Zuru therefore hopes to combat the negative impact of cars on the city and beyond by providing a sustainable solution to car ownership through car sharing
Car owners also called hosts, upload images and descriptions of their car, and set a rental price, with users able to book and pay for the rentals.
“Many innocent Kenyans have been conned after being asked to send a deposit to book a car after which the supposed car owners switch off their phones, we want to bring credibility in the market,” said Otini.
The company started as a car hire agency two years ago linking car owners to clients, but decided to automate the process in order to easily scale the service to remote areas. It has signed up cars in Nairobi, Eldoret and Kisii. Otini said a Kisumu launch was imminent
He said taxis are expensive if the customer is travelling for more than 50 kilometres while public transport is not flexible and passengers are at risk of Covid-19 infections.
The demand for car rentals peaked during the Christmas festivities as more families sought for safer transport modes.
“PSVs have their carrying capacity reduced due to social distance and so demand for car hire has jumped as many Kenyans want to ensure that their families are safe from Covid-19 infections,” the CEO said.
The platform enables customers to get verified car owners while car owners can unlock capital from their cars.
The AirBnB of cars, will help car owners pay for the cost of maintaining their vehicles such as insurance and reduce congestion in the city by enabling car sharing. The platform will see people whose cars are usually packed at home due to traffic jams start to hire them out without looking for a broker.
The app increases KYC measures using customer phone data and social media to ensure customers and car owners are verified before being allowed to list their cars.
The car hire market in Kenya is estimated to be worth Sh5 billion according to a study conducted by the European magazine Euromonitor.
Zuru app, also seeks to ensure that cars are efficiently utilised since most cars are usually parked for seven straight hours every day except when the owner is going to work and back.