In the disruptive, circular world of the sharing economy, someone was inevitably going to find a way to sell resources back to people who want to get in on the action. Enter Breeze, which is like Airbnb for Sidecar drivers. Or Zipcar for Lyft. Or Uber for UberX.
"There is huge demand from people who don't own cars to be part of the 'ride-sharing' economy," Breeze co-founder and CEO Jeff Pang, told the Chronicle. "We are solving the problem of getting more drivers on the road." Breeze launched their service with only 25 cars, all of which are currently booked by potential Lyft and Uber drivers in San Francisco.
Because buying cars is an expensive enterprise (otherwise, Breeze users wouldn't need to rent vehicles in the first place), the bootstrapped startup is actually renting the vehicles from another, unnamed company. Breeze then rents the vehicles to rideshare drivers at a low-low rate of $20 a day plus 25 cents per mile, which the company says works out to about $40 to $50 per car per day and makes them "effectively cash-flow positive." On the other hand, the commission for Breeze looks a lot like the gate fees Yellow Cab drivers have to pay just to get a cab out on the road, albeit at less than half the price.
As for the insurance loopholes and coverage dark spots that have complicated things for Transportation Network Companies, Breeze requires drivers to insure their shared rental car with a plan that costs $150 per month, which only covers the drivers when they're not on the clock with their ridesharing service of choice. (Lyft's built-in insurance, for example, only covers a driver who has accepted a ride request. Uber's policy covers drivers whenever they have the app running.)
Although Breeze's business model has some auto rental industry experts perplexed, the company's three co-founders have a couple of Stanford degrees between them and a number of rideshare driving hours under their belts, so they're bullish on whether their company will go anywhere. As Pang and his co-founders Charlie Fang and Ned Ryan told the SF Business Journal, the company hopes to working in 20 cities by the end of the year. Still, the new regulations that the state of California applied to Transportation Network Companies last year may stand in their way here in California. As the assistant manager of Luxor Cabs in San Francisco pointed out, the CPUC's regulations define TNCs as companies that connect riders with drivers using their own personal vehicles.