Will Turo IPO Plans Mark Milestone or Hurdle In Carsharing Industry’s Advance?

Platforms, in starkest terms, enable demand to meet supply.

We’ve seen the dynamics across all manner of interactions, from vacation homes (Airbnb) to B2B to buying and selling non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

And, increasingly, those platform operators have been taking their shares public.

Turo, which enables peer-to-peer vehicle sharing, submitted its S-1 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday (Jan. 10).

The move comes after company had submitted a confidential filing with the SEC back in August 2021.

Read also: Turo Submits Draft Registration For Proposed IPO

The January 2022 filing noted that as of the quarter that ended Sept. 30, 2021, the platform sported 85,000 active hosts, listing more than 160,000 vehicles in its primary markets of the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada.

Drilling into the filing, the company said that it is “pioneering a new category of transportation,” adding that cars remain firmly entrenched as the “preferred means” of transportation across short, medium and longer term trips. Peer-to-peer sharing of the vehicles, according to the filing, offer a more convenient, economically efficient and “environmentally and socially responsible way” to offer consumers access to vehicles.

For the hosts, the platform helps them generate additional streams of income and monetize otherwise idle assets.

$146B Addressable Market 

Turo said in the filing that, pre-pandemic, 2019, households in the United States alone spent almost $11,000 per year on their mobility needs. The company detailed a “serviceable addressable market” that could conceivably be addressed at present, worth $146 billion — calculated by monetizing 749 billion miles from long-term trips (greater than 30 miles) across current key markets. The total, longer term addressable market is worth as much as $230 billion, the company estimated, across a wider geography.

For the consumers, “our platform supports a variety of use cases — from the minivan for the family road trip, to the convertible for the long-awaited beach getaway, or a simple vehicle for escaping the city grind,” Turo said.

Viewing the Competition  

As for the competition that exists from ridesharing and rental industries: Turo contended that ridesharing platforms “serve limited use cases.” Ridesharing, maintained Turo, “does not scale” beyond commuting and intra urban mobility. The cost per mile is expensive, according to the filing, while car rentals — the kind that are mainstays at the airport — are marked by long wait times and a less-than-optimal consumer experience.

By way of contrast, said Turo in the filing, the “new world of mobility is the result of converging forces, defined by personal car ownership being replaced or complemented by services that provide access to transportation on demand.”

The company pointed to built-in messaging, payments, fraud detection, the proprietary Turo Risk Score, and host and guest protection plans that “are designed to deliver a safe transaction and experience for our community.”

With a nod toward that Risk Score, the company said “every trip booked on our platform automatically generates a proprietary Turo Risk Score, which we use to promote responsibility and trust within our community.”

Cumulatively, through Sept. 30, 2021, the company has collected 23 million days, 5.5 million transactions, 2.2 billion miles driven, and 10 years of claims data since inception to create algorithms and risk scores to help customize fees.

The financials show that in the nine months that ended in September, top lines surged to $330.5 million in the latest period from $107.8 million in 2020, with an operating profit in 2021 of $46 million, versus an operating loss of $45.6 million in 2020. Days booked in the corresponding periods were 7.5 million in the first nine months of 2021, compared to 2.8 million in 2020, with a 2021 nine month gross booking value of $885.2 million versus $240.7 million through the first nine months of 2020.