Who is the team behind Carshare.hk? How did this idea come about?
Chris and Joyce – founders of Carshare.hk. Chris came across the car-sharing concept while studying in Britain where he found out there are a lot of people sharing stuff with each other. Car rental services are very common in Europe and US e.g. ZipCar, Uber etc. However, this will require a large amount of capital to buy a fleet of car. We then tweak the business model and became a c2c one, where car owners can rent out their idle cars and make on average $3000 a month.
As a renter , you an easily book a car with your mobile app. Choose a car by the rental price, style or the location, after allowing us to hold a deposit on your credit card, the owner will receive your rental request.
As Car owner, simply list your car online. The renter will come to your parking location and meet you for the car key.
As platform, we provide insurance, install a telematics with a GPS to avoid theft for all cars, and verify all members’ identity.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve encountered/solved so far?
Insurance – especially when we first started, as our concept was pretty new to the insurance industry. It took us extra efforts in convincing insurance companies.
What is your most memorable moment from running Carshare.hk?
There are a lot of memorable moments for example the moment when we are able to negotiate the first and only carsharing insurance. As a small startup, it is very encouraging when we are able to establish our first collaborations with car manufacturer giants such as BYD, Volkswagen and Hyundai, first in Asia. Thirdly, it would be the time when we expanded to Shanghai – it is really competitive up there and we our team scaled to 20 people within 3 months. Things happen in a really fast pace and we learn something new everyday, both on adopting the local culture, meeting people in the industry and operations.
The EYE programme brought us to Taiwan where we are able to meet the local teams on car industry. We gained help from mentors where they gave us different advices on user experiences, business strategy and fund raising. Our mentor is very helpful where we kept contact after the programme and he gave us a lot of advices on fund raising.
What do you think of Hong Kong’s Startup Scene?
The whole start-up ecosystem is growing more and more prosperous. Not only government support, there are more corporates giving attentions to startups , where they are interested to know more about the newest technology and even cooperating with startups. However I believe there are still lots of rooms for improvement on infrastructures among the industry and can further speed up the growth of startups.
What do you think about the future of the sharing economy in Hong Kong ?
Hong Kong is a suitable city for the sharing economy since Hong Kong is population density is high, people are able to share resources from their neighbours easily.
In the future, with driverless cars introduced to the world, we believe it will become a mainstream for these driverless cars in the sharing pools and we believe in the next 5-10 years there will be a period of transition of car ownerships and that’s will be what we will be focusing to serve.
What’s next for Carshare.hk?
We are looking for more collaborations with more car manufacturers and expanding into car ownership services. We ultimately want to build a one stop solution for car ownership.
What are 3 things you want consumers to remember about your company?
Only one thing , our goal is when people think about Cars in HK, they will think about us.
Interview by Ludivine Lombard Taverne