Zuru, a new car-sharing platform that lets you rent your car to strangers has launched in Nairobi.

Through its vehicle-sharing app, car owners will be able to rent out their cars directly to customers without using an agent.

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Car owners upload images of their car, the price and description of the car. While customers after installing the app can book and pay through the app.

This according to the company helps to ensure the safety of the clients money as their cash held in an escrow account until  the customer gets to see the car. When the two meet and the customer is satisfied with the condition of the car, the client clicks the confirm button on the app and the money moves from the escrow account to the car owner’s M-Pesa account.

 “Currently, there is lack of order and credibility in the industry, there are conmen posting cars online and asking customers for deposits after which they switch off their phones, we want to end that,” the company’s CEO and chief designer Rawlings Otini said.

The AirBnB of car hire; Zuru Car Rental is available on your android appstore and the firm is also building a web platform. 

The car rental market is worth Sh5 billion in revenues in Kenya and Sh500 billion in Africa according to a Euromonitor survey done in 2017 and is a growing at 8 percent annually.

The platform provides room for individuals, leasing firms and car manufacturers who want hire out cars to reach customers cost-effectively.

The company started as a car hire agency linking car owners to clients, but decided to automate the process inorder to easily scale the service to remote areas.

The app will help reduce the number of idle cars since most cars are idle 95 percent of the time. The system has a rating mechanism where users rate each other with stars to reward good car owners and customers.

M-Pesa is currently the only payment option but the startup is working to include card payment. Rawlings said the app can work in any part of the country or region of the world where M-Pesa is functional and where car owners are willing to lease.

The company has already signed up several trusted hosts who have uploaded their vehicles such as Unicorn Car Hire in Westlands, Go4 Fun in Nairobi CBD, Discovery cars among others. 

Individual car owners are also allowed to list their vehicles for free.

While speaking at their Nairobi CBD offices, the CEO said car ownership is changing and owners want a flexible model that allows them to unlock capital from the car. It allows them to get money to pay for car loans, insurance and repairs.

The app also strengthens car safety by using big data analytics obtained from devices to further secure the cars and reduce cases of rampant car theft. It also employs Google tracking. 

The app deducts 10 percent for every transaction which also includes transaction fees, the rest goes to the car owner.

The company is working with an insurer to provide pay per use insurance for customers who might want to meet the cost of repairs incase of accidents and theft.

Car manufacturers around the world have started leasing out cars while some have started leasing companies due to short term car ownership sessions desired by young people.

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