There’s usually nothing especially cool, or disruptive, about renting a car—if you’ve just arrived at an airport, you make your way to the rental car desk area, and you either confirm previously-arranged reservations, or you make one on the fly. Then, you go to the nearby parking lot, an attendant brings you the vehicle, and you’re on your way. Simple, and the same in practically every US airport you’ll visit—a chore in which you know exactly what to expect, and sometimes feel vaguely ripped off (did you actually need that extra insurance?), but something for which expectations ultimately aren’t ever really that high. But thanks to a fledgling LA-based startup, that’s all changing.
How it Works
Renting a car through Skurt appears elegantly straightforward: you just choose your car, sign for it right on your phone, and when you arrive at the airport, a car and driver are waiting (they track your flight) to take you a short distance to your rental. No navigating the airport to find the car rental area, no lines, and no delays. Even the paperwork is painless—you can scan your license ahead of time, and, once you’re verified, you’re set for all future rentals.
One of the coolest things about Skurt is that they eschew underage fees. All drivers over 21 are free to rent a car, and they’ll all get the same rate. Plus, Skurt offers 24/7 roadside assistance and around-the-clock customer support.
Behind the Scenes
Skurt, unlike other rental car companies, maintains no vehicle fleet of their own. In fact, the company’s very concept is much more in line with startups we’ve seen emerging in the last few years: rather than building up a business on existing industry models, startups like these begin from scratch and fill a void industry insiders didn’t even see. In the case of Skurt, rather than rent their own vehicles, the company instead connects customers with vehicles from existing rental companies that have excess stock they need to move. Tech Crunch explains:
“Skurt has agreements with independent car rental companies that have an excess inventory of cars in need of renters. The startup’s partners have fleets ranging in size from local mom-and-pop shops with 200 cars to larger independent rental companies with over 2,000 cars. Skurt currently has access to over 5,000 in Los Angeles. The service, which picks you up and takes you to your rental car, is currently only available at LAX in Los Angeles. Skurt plans to launch at SFO in San Francisco soon.”
And car rental is no small business: Tech Crunch reports it’s a 24 billion dollar market that has traditionally been dominated by three big names: Enterprise (which owns Alamo, National, and Enterprise), Hertz (which owns Advantage and Hertz), and Budget (which owns Avis and Budget). Mark Suster, Managing Partner at Upfront Ventures—one of Skurt’s big investors—told Tech Crunch: “What Uber did to the taxi market we think Skurt can do to rental cars.”