Two investors have just chosen RVshare as the COVID-19 pandemic is driving record growth in the start of RV rentals.
On Tuesday, RVshare announced it had raised $ 100 million for a KKR-led investment involving Tritium Ventures. CEO Jon Gray said the funds would continue to increase bookings on RVshare as more people look for safe ways to vacation amid the pandemic.
“We have seen a tremendous acceleration and growth in COVID,” Gray told Built In. “Before summer, when people started thinking about travel again, they were very keen on control. RVs give you tremendous control. ”
Founded in 2013, RVshare is an Akron, Ohio-based sharing economy startup that opened its Austin office five years after it was founded. Over the next year, the 75-person company plans to add at least 10 people to its 15-person Austin office, hiring software engineers, product developers, marketers and more. The expanded staff will help to further develop and market RVShare as an accessible vacation alternative compared to flying, camping or hotel stays.
“If you’re traveling in an RV, bring your kitchen, you bring your bed, you bring your bathroom, it’s air-conditioned,” said Gray. “Compared to the alternative of camping and sleeping on the ground or staying in a crowded hotel, it’s a particularly good choice right now.”
Although the pandemic initially slowed RVshare’s bookings in March, business picked up in the summer and the number of transactions processed through the platform nearly tripled year over year. The number of transactions doubled in autumn. Now, not even winter could slow the startup’s growth, said Gray – traditionally the company’s slow season. Gray anticipated RVshare bookings to continue to grow as people pledged to visit their families over the holidays.
“I believe the pandemic has sped up our category adoption and use by about five years as a lot of people who may not have considered RV travel are now considering it,” Gray said.
RVshare now counts more than 100,000 RVs listed on its platform and has processed more than 2 million trips. The startup has raised a total of $ 150 million in venture funds to date and plans to invest the new money in features that “make booking an RV just as easy as booking a hotel room,” said Gray.
Other companies, like Outdoorsy, based in San Francisco, also offer peer-to-peer RV rentals. However, RVshare wants to differentiate itself from the competition by marketing its offerings as an upscale experience to remind yourself that it’s more of a glamping trip or a stay at a beach hotel.
“We want to be front and center when we consider travel,” said Gray. “When families sit down to think about planning their family vacation, I want them to think about it, ‘Maybe we’re going to Disneyland and staying at a hotel. Maybe we’ll stay in a beach house on the beach. or maybe we visit the national parks and take a motorhome. ‘”