Luxury car sharing startup REVL emerges from Minneapolis as an alternative for those who seek a unique driving experience.
It was during a startup sabbatical, halfway around the world, that Daniel Hobbs decided he was over one venture and ready for the next.
His last company, Divvy, was centered around the collaborative ownership of everyday items. It played into the broader themes associated with the sharing economy, popularized in sectors such as automotive (Lyft) and rentals (AirBnB).
While Divvy didn’t reach the traction to scale, the experience didn’t stop him from persevering.
“Sure, it was tough to go through a stop and restart, but as an entrepreneur I’m glad that I did,” Hobbs reflects.
“Same principles, new company, more fun. It’s shared access with a much more in demand product.”
“In the top 10 largest US cities, over 30% of residents don’t own a personal car,” Hobbs says. “Car sharing has grown 2,400%+ over the past 10 years, driven by the fact that millenials are urbanizing.”
There’s clearly a shift underway, although until now, much of that evolution has been focused on entry level cars (Zipcar, GM-back Maven, Daimler AG unit Car2Go) . Hobbs posits that much of the economic changes are driven by people who can’t afford the total cost of ownership, while REVL is for those who want to drive nice cars, but don’t want to deal with buying or lease them.
It works by first downloading the app (iOS / Android) and becoming a paying member, which starts at $200+/month depending on the tier of vehicles sought. The entry level R line, for example, includes models like Mercedes-Benz C300 4MATIC, BMW 320i xDrive, Ford Mustang, and Audi Q3 Quattro. Their L class ($450/mo) includes Maserati Ghibli S Q4, Tesla Model S 70D, Corvette Stingray Convertible, and Porsche Cayenne.
He notes that breadth of inventory is always growing and all cars will be 2 years old at most.
Included in the membership is 500 miles and 50 hours per vehicle session with $7.49/hr charged thereafter for unlimited mileage. Gas usage is automatically billed on top the membership and through the app, while insurance and parking is included in the membership.
A member can have access whenever they want and schedule their reservation in the future, so they can guarantee a preferred block of time.
“Most reservations are made on demand, right before our customers need the vehicle,” Hobbs says.
Available vehicles are chosen by type and proximity using the mobile app, which also doubles as a key fob. Additionally, REVL has teamed up with UBER to offer rides to and from the cars designated parking spot.
REVL is launching out of Minneapolis and targeting a full local launch on April 1st with plans to go to into Chicago thereafter, before expanding to the coasts. They’re also pursuing a B2B model catering towards business professionals on assignment or traveling for business purposes.
“The word revel means to be fully immersed in an enjoyable experience and we want our customers experience with us to be a remarkable one. REVL is an ownership replacement experience.”