Listen to this episode from Converse with Anyone Anywhere on Spotify. In today's episode we interview the Co-Founder & CE...
Car ownership should be easier
The way people get around cities is changing. As more people move to cities, parking is increasingly scarce and expensive, making owning a car more of a headache. More people are turning to ridesharing, bikesharing, and scootersharing apps for short trips around town, making owning a car less necessary. Yet these options don’t work for many needs, like longer distance trips or shopping. Carshare and car rentals are expensive, inconvenient, and are often not available when and where you want them. Despite all these new solutions, about ⅓ of people in cities still own cars - they just drive them less and less. There is a great opportunity for a service that provides the freedom of owning a car without all the worry.
A 2-car garage,
in your pocket
Upshift removes all the friction from owning a car. Whenever you need to drive somewhere, we deliver a Toyota Prius or Ford Escape hybrid SUV to your doorstep. Get a car with as little as 30 minutes notice- always clean with a full tank. When you return, simply park it and walk away anywhere in our service zone. No more expensive garages or circling the block for street parking. Forget worrying about parking tickets, break-ins, or mysterious new dents. We provide full coverage insurance and take it in for maintenance and repairs. All you have to think about is where you are going. We’re live in San Francisco and we plan to expand to all cities so you can always have “your” car — anywhere in the world.
Intelligent, adaptive, & delivers for members — every time
We have designed and built a web admin panel to manage subscriptions, billing, and bookings. Our dispatcher app assigns delivery jobs to concierges, and our concierge app helps them manage their deliveries.
With new funding, we will integrate vehicle telematics to remotely unlock and locate vehicles so members and concierges don’t need to meet. A new member app will let you set your vehicle preferences and manage your account, subscription, and reservations. A new fleet management system will keep track of all our cars and a predictive algorithm will manage constantly changing demand.
Over 1,500 signups + a waitlist to join
Upshift has gotten 40 solid 5-star Yelp reviews from our members. We currently have 1,500+ accounts created. We have as many people on a waitlist as paid active members. We’ve already facilitated over 3,000 trips. We’re entering into a partnership with Ford to integrate the new hardware and software in their 2019 Escape SUVs into our delivery and dispatch apps to streamline our logistics. This lets us remotely lock, locate, track mileage and fuel consumption, run diagnostics, and monitor driver behavior without expensive third party hardware integration- an industry first. This means our members never need to meet our concierges to exchange keys
Drive it like you own it
It’s like your own car, but better. Need a car for business? Get a Prius delivered to the office, drive to the meeting, and return it at home. Want to skip town on weekends? Take the Escape SUV hybrid to get into nature. Surfboard, skiis, or bicycle? We’ll bring it with a rack. Bringing your dog on a hike? We’ll put in a car seat cover. Toddler in tow? Doorstep delivery makes it easy to put in a car seat. Big box shopping? Bring it all right to your door and be done. Lost something? We’ll bring it next time. Our cars are identical down to the white paint and there’s no branding, so you blend right in. Our apps keep track of what you like- from phone cable to temperature. Got a question? Just text us.
Like a cell phone plan, for your car
Our simple, transparent, all-inclusive monthly pricing means no haggling at the dealership. No big down payment, hidden fees, or long term commitments- change your plan or cancel anytime. Choose a subscription package of 4, 8, or 12 days of drive time per month depending on how often you need a car. Drive whichever days you want. If you don’t use all your days, they rollover so you can store up days for a big road trip. If you run out and need extra days, just pay a flat day rate ($79-99/day). A car payment, parking space, and insurance can easily cost $600/month or more, making Upshift an obvious alternative to leasing or owning a car.
Creating a new $26B US market
More and more people in cities are relying on transportation apps, rather than owning their own car. Upshift is tapping into this rapidly growing market by offering low mileage urban drivers an alternative that gives them the freedom of car ownership, without the cost or stress. 28% of people in high density US cities have reliable commute alternatives and drive a few days a month or a few days a week. This translates to about 7M people spending around $295/month for a $26B new market in the US alone. This is almost 10x larger than the carshare market, which is expected to grow 20% CAGR over the next 5 years.
Redefining car leasing for urban drivers
Upshift is the most convenient and reliable way to get access to a car. Our most direct competition is car leasing, but leases have a minimum of 10,000 miles/year and 2-year commitment, a big down payment, and you need to take care of parking, maintenance, repairs, and insurance. Car ownership no longer makes sense in cities where people don’t commute by car. Carshare services like Zipcar are expensive and do not offer consistent availability in every location, especially during peak times. Peer-to-peer carshare (e.g., Turo, Getaround) have the same issues, but cars are often dirty, unmaintained, or low on gas. Rental car locations and hours are inconvenient and cars tend to be generic and entry level.
Upshift is a machine for change
We believe that:
- We need a healthy planet. All our cars are hybrids and we will transition to EVs.
- Streets are for people, not cars. Every shared car we put on the road takes cars off the road.
- Everyone deserves dignity and respect. Our concierges are employees and we pay $20/hr+ with pathways to growth and equity.
- Diversity is strength. Our team is 50% female & 50% minority- and we aim to grow that way.
- Transportation should be seamless. We eliminate friction at every step to connect you to the people, places, and experiences that matter most.
- Autonomous vehicles need a fleet operator. Car delivery will come first, and will enable us to build centralized mobility hubs for cleaning and recharging.
Backed by major carmakers
Upshift has received $442,000 in equity investment from the Urban Us, URBAN-X accelerator by BMW/MINI and over 80 angel investors, including the cofounder of NerdWallet. We have received $458,000 in debt financing for our vehicle fleet from Midway Fleet Leasing and Toyota Financial Services. We are also piloting a new partnership with Ford which they are funding with $250,000 in non-dilutive project financing. We are in discussions with Ford regarding a scalable supply of connected Escapes to grow the business.
Leveraging entrepreneurship to drive structural change
Ezra cofounded a dockless bikeshare in 1999 and helped design a shared folding electric scooter at the MIT Media Lab with Piaggio in 2006 while doing his Master's in City Planning. He's consulted on innovation for HP and was managing director of a tech startup in Copenhagen, where he also was a PhD candidate studying why Danish people ride bicycles.
Ayako moved to Cambodia from Japan after college and launched a social enterprise when she could barely speak English, let alone Khmer. She now holds two Master's degrees, has consulted for the World Bank, and advised Stanford School students. She has a sharp mind for process improvement and a passion for creating delightful experiences.