This week, on FrenchTech Friday, we’re still talking about cars and airports. But as always, there’s a little something different. Virtuo is a car rental startup. Come on, how can a car rental company be new except change cars?
Virtuo is a car rental company with a twist. Founder Thibault Chassagne explains how, as former CEO of another startup, he was frustrated by the former rental solution. To get a car, he had to queue up after a long trip, he wouldn’t always get the car he had booked and lost time when bringing it back.
The stumbling block is the desk (and the paperwork)
This is where most of your time is lost. You may have booked the car on the internet but you still have to wait up at the desk. Virtuo gets rid of that step.
After your booking, your next step is to drive. Your smartphone is the key, litterally. Exit the airport or the railway station. Make your way to the parking lot, find the car with your GPS, check for bumps (and take a picture if you find any) and then, open the car with your phone. No key, no problem. Start, go.
Once inside, the Carplay enabled car will recharge your phone (works with Android too) and guide you! Meanwhile, your flight buddy is still waiting for his keys at the car rental desk…
When you’re done, bring the car back, file in any damage report on the app and… leave.
The customer is not alone
One may worry about who to talk to in case of a problem. Not having an employee at the station doesn’t mean no one is there. There is someone standing by thanks to the chatroom within the app. This chat is warm and friendly so people don’t feel alone.
If the customer has friends along with him who are willing to drive too, there is no extra charge for them unlike most car rental services.
Tech but simple
This simple client experience relies on two key elements. The car, obviously, which is fully connected. This goes well beyond the virtual key. Tire pressure, fuel level, any disorder is sent to the Virtuo teams who can then organize maintenance. If the car is left with a half empty tank, it’s easy to charge the customer for the exact missing liters.
The other element is the user-friendly app, which was among Apple’s Top 10 apps last year.
Who are the main users of Virtuo?
The users of Virtuo are familiar with technology (if you’re still using a Nokia 3310 you might want to reconsider). Using a phone as a key doesn’t frighten them and swift service is more important than a chitchat at the desk. They may not have a car of their own and only rent one for a weekend out of town or for longer getaways. We are mainly talking about city millenials here. The other obvious Virtuo users are travelling businessmen/women who are eager to gain precious minutes between meetings.
Virtuo, for the time being, offers only two types of cars, both luxury cars, but manage to have starting prices at 49€/day. No category substitute here: if you booked a Mercedes GLA, this is the car you’ll get.
Virtuo being a 100% digital solution, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the team is considering using autonomous vehicules in the years to come. In the meantime, SUV’s are on the way.
The use of cars is changing right now with car-sharing solutions and Uber-like services in cities. But once you’re out of town, Virtuo aims to take over.
Virtuo is available in France (Paris, Lyon, Bordeaux, Nice, Avignon, Aix en Provence) for the time being. Not only do they plan to open new stations in France but European expansion is on the way.
In 2015 they raised 1.7 million Euros, raised another 7.5 millions last September (Balderton Capital) and have the influencial Xavier Niel among their investors.
Since the cars are easily located with the GPS, one of the possible evolutions of Virtuo would be to leave the car anywhere at the end of your rental period. Even just outside your home.
All exciting news for the 22 team members that make up Virtuo. By the way, the team is about to expand and are recruiting (including their new head of marketing).
People are changing the way they use transportations and Virtuo is leading the way for longer range worry-free rentals. Most importantly, Virtuo is able to update its services to fit the always changing consumer behavior. Ready for the ride?
Want to impress your pals driving a Mercedes for the weekend and test Virtuo? Thibault has kindly offered a 15€ discount to Rude Baguette readers. Use the Promo code VIRTUOBAG
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