"People are already experimenting with new consumption models because they're sick of all of the hassles related to car ownership," says Iyer. "It's a lousy asset to own. People value their time much more than physical assets, and they would much rather access a newer, professionally maintained car when they need it instead of dealing with the headaches and high fixed costs that come with owning it."
The sharing economy has indeed paved the way for a number of major-name innovators the likes of Uber and Lyft for micro-term transportation as well as peer-to-peer ridesharing services like GetAround or Turo in the short-term use space. But as YOYO Co-Founder and President Ro Arora views it, Uber and Lyft aren't really alternatives to car ownership and the P2P ride-sharing model simply isn't sustainable in the long term.
"Ridesharing works great as an alternative to taxis. But let's face it - most people can't Uber and Lyft their way around everywhere on a full-time basis. It just doesn't work for most pocketbooks", Arora said. "While P2P carsharing may work occasionally, it has its own set of issues which run the gamut of logistical and scheduling challenges, liability coverage issues, unreliable cars that haven't been well-maintained, no access to rides during peak demand times, ongoing wear and tear responsibilities, you name it. It's exactly all these issues that YOYO directly solves."
YOYO's service works much like checking out books at the library. Members can select any car and delivery location within the mobile app, and a YOYO agent will drive it to them at a time and place of the user's choosing. When the user is finished with the vehicle, they can request a pick-up at the press of a button and even swap for a different vehicle altogether. And unlike P2P services, YOYO allows members to pay for only the miles they actually drive.
The primary benefit YOYO provides is the flexibility to drive the right kind of car based on user needs on that particular day or week, without having to own multiple cars, and without having to deal with any hassles at the dealership, insurance broker, and mechanic shop.
While YOYO is a natural fit for consumers among the Millennial generation who have widely embraced the sharing economy with open arms, YOYO Founders also see their service as providing a valuable opportunity in the future for owners of older and unreliable gas guzzlers.
"The working class families in our country, who are extremely price-conscious and not normally in a position to purchase newer cars, are wholly dependent upon mobility for their livelihood," says Iyer, "As our business model evolves over time, we see an opportunity to address this lack of access to newer, fuel-efficient, and more reliable vehicles, which is a massive pain point for a very large, yet generally ignored, segment of our population.
The two YOYO Founders combine decades of car industry and startup expertise between them. A Stanford Business School graduate, Iyer is a 25-year veteran of the automotive business, where he was most recently Chief Operating Officer of a car startup that went public earlier this year. Arora, a serial entrepreneur, brings 15 years of a broad range of executive experience in corporate turnaround, business development, finance, and operations.
The concept of YOYO was conceived a year ago when Arora's car broke down. Like most consumers not adept with the complexities of the modern car engine, he was at the mercy of the repair shop and facing a very large bill. A helpful intervention by his long-time colleague and go-to auto guru Iyer saved him from being taken for thousands of dollars. After this experience, the two began studying the inefficiencies and gaps that exist in the automotive industry that always seem to put consumers at a disadvantage.
"The more we researched the problem and spoke to consumers, the more it became clear to both of us that the entire model of personal car ownership is broken, and we set out to fix that," says Arora, "Our attempt to dissolve all the car-related headaches for the consumer and disrupt a 100-year old broken car consumption model eventually led to the formation and launch of YOYO. We believe that this is an acute problem worth solving, and we have the right DNA to do it."
YOYO recently launched a rewards crowdfunding round on Indiegogo, the popular rewards crowdfunding platform. You can find their campaign here.
For more information about YOYO, visit the company's website at joinyoyo.com.
For more information about this story, contact:
Ro Arora, Founder & President
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