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Peer-2-peer Car Sharing

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - P2PCS (Peer-2-peer Car Sharing)

Reporting period: 2017-06-01 to 2017-11-30

CarShare Ventures B.V. (CSV) has developed SnappCar, a peer-to-peer (p2p) car sharing platform on which consumers can offer their car for rent for one or more days to other potential users. In others words: SnappCar is the equivalent of “AirBnB for cars”. CSV lowers risks and increases trust by arranging insurance, payments and screening potential users. Currently the average European car owner only makes use of his/her car one hour per day. The remaining hours, the car adds no value for the owner. In 2011, Europe’s car park amounted to nearly 250 million cars, equalling 5.75 billion hours of untapped potential per year. CSV perceives the tremendous amount of unused cars as a business opportunity with a societal impact. This is supported by economic, societal and environmental arguments, such as resource efficiency and interaction within communities.

In order to create more societal benefits, peer-to-peer car sharing will need to scale across more metropolitan areas in Europe. Currently, peer-to-peer car sharing platforms have developed scale and traction in the Netherlands, France and Denmark. However, it is unclear which other metropolitan areas in Europe are suited for establishing a peer-to-peer car sharing platform at scale. Preliminary market research has indicated untapped user potential and latent interest in car sharing in the following three European regions: North West Europe (Ireland and the United Kingdom), Central & Eastern Europe (Germany, Austria, Poland, Hungary) and Southern Europe (Spain and Portugal). However more investigation is needed about the metropolitan areas in more detail before CSV can create a solid business strategy and tailor the current platform accordingly (removing cultural, technical, legal and economical market barriers) to access and engage the identified end-users of each region, in order to expand peer-to-peer car sharing beyond its current metropolitan areas.

According to the experience and viewpoint of CSV, convincing local car owners to share their cars, has proven a difficult and time-consuming exercise that requires a different and personalized approach per location. CSV learned this the hard way in Sweden and Denmark. In organizing events to get users on board, people in The Netherlands were more likely to show up for ‘a drink after work’, while people in Sweden only reacted to invitations for ‘Fika’, a traditional tea party with pastry. In short, picking the right location to start a new car sharing community has proven equally important as the picking the right marketing and growth strategy tailored to address local issues and preferences. The main objective of this market research are (1) to find out what the most opportune metropolitan areas in each of the three European zones are to start car sharing communities, (2) what the most opportune marketing and growth approaches are for each of these three locations, and (3) what are the requirements for commercialisation to overcome region specific market-barriers.
"The approach taken in this project has focused around three areas of work:

As a first step, the research focused on deepening of existing desk research in the metropolitan areas, with the goal of defining a top 6 list of metropolitan areas (preferrably getting towards the 2 most attractive locations per zone). This consisted of collection, refinement and clustering of available market data to rank metropolitan areas. Furthermore, findings from this research were validated through conversations with industry relations (competitors, investors, market participants, experts) in the field over the period June to August 2017. The results from this ranking showed that there are significant differences in attractiveness of the selected European regions, with Central & Eastern Europe having clearly the largest amount of attractive metropolitan areas, followed at distance by South, and lastly North West. As a result of the outcomes of this first step, the research was focused more heavily on the Central & Eastern Europe region, in particular on the German market.

As a second step, in-depth market customer and market research was done to collect consumer feedback on values and triggers to determine a local strategy technology and marketing plan and to make a final selection for the most attractive location per zone. Furthermore the legal framework was analyzed by identifying which regulations
concerning policy, taxes, insurance, etc. data protection/privacy laws are in place that facilitate or inhibit entry. Based on this analysis, the research identified that consumer preferences and usage patterns differ significantly per region and indeed a localized approach is critical for successful roll-out of car sharing platform in the specific metropolitan areas. With regards to legal frameworks, no structural blockers were identified in the most attractive metropolitan areas within the regions, although each region requires specific adjustments with regards to insurance coverage and policies, consumer protectoin and interpretation & timing of privacy legislation (especially GDPR).

As a third step, the findings of step 1 & 2 have been combined into a business plan for roll out and market demonstration of CSV's peer-to-peer car sharing platform. This plan specified which metropolitan areas CSV would prefer to roll out to and by what strategy (greenfield, ""buy & build"", partnerships). CSV has already taken some steps in order to follow up on this business, especially in Germany."
The research has structurally analyzed the metropolitan areas for the first time and provided more substance to the theory that differences in consumer values and preferences are an important factor on further scaling of peer-to-peer car sharing platforms in Europe. If existing car sharing players, including CSV, are able to address these differences in an effective way, this would significantly increase the chances of 10-20 additional metropolitan areas being opened up to peer-to-peer car sharing, thereby unlocking large new pockets of economic and societal value.