Interview: Xavier Collins, Managing Director, Turo UK

Can a business model that increases the utilisation of private vehicles reduce the carbon footprint of the mobility sector? By Freddie Holmes

The notion of sharing a car between friends and family has been around for almost as long as the car itself. But like so many new business models, the rise of the smartphone has enabled owners to turn a casual favour into a revenue stream. And for those with more than one car in the household, the rewards can be even greater.

In the conversation around shared mobility, car-sharing has generally played second fiddle to ride-hailing. It has also had to battle the rental car giants, who provide a largely similar service. Peer-to-peer (P2P) car-sharing is proving more of a success story; much like the Airbnb model, assets can be booked out for days or even weeks at a time—only with cars as opposed to holiday homes. An available car could be parked just around the corner, avoiding a separate journey to a car rental hub.

Turo might seem a new name in this space, but the San Francisco start-up has in fact been around for a decade. Over that time, it has raised more than US$500m in funding and grown to more than 14 million users worldwide. It counts the likes of Daimler, American Express and Japanese conglomerate Sumitomo Corporation as investors, which according to Turo has improved its ‘unique travel experience’ and will support an eventual move into Asia.

Xavier Collins joined the company having previously helped to launch Uber X in Australia and Deliveroo in the UK. Now serving as Director of Turo’s UK operations—and overseeing the rapid growth…