What if there was a way to rent a car avoiding traditional rental and car-sharing marketplaces? Now there is. Meet Subskryb.
The average annual cost of vehicle ownership has increased. Add depreciation, maintenance costs and rising fuel prices, and many Ontarians are opting for public transportation over owning a car. But there are times when you really do need a personal
vehicle. You can rent a car, of course, but rental costs can add up, depending on the model and the length of time you need it.
Car sharing — or peer-to-peer car sharing — is an emerging option in the $55-billion-dollar Canadian car-rental market. It’s different from traditional car rentals in that it enables customers to rent a car from a personal owner on a short or long-term basis. For car owners, car sharing enables them to share their otherwise idle cars to help offset the high cost of ownership. It sounds ideal but it comes with its own set of challenges: The biggest issue, perhaps, is the little to no customer support provided by marketplace apps. Drivers can often be left in a lurch when mechanical problems with the car arise and owners are left to solve problems like renters returning cars late, for example.
Subskryb’s platform enables
customers to access personally owned, dealership-quality and luxury cars. Customers can rent these vehicles for one week to two years.
Ontario-based platform, Subskryb, is tackling these challenges in the car-sharing industry with its innovative subscription-based model. Subskryb’s platform enables customers to access personally owned, dealership-quality and luxury cars. Customers can rent these vehicles for one week to two years (without being held to lengthy commitments like a lease or loan arrangement and without the cost or responsibilities of ownership like maintenance and unpredictable insurance premiums). “We believe that ‘personal mobility’ is the freedom of movement with little limitations or restrictions to get to the destination,” says Subskryb co-founder and CEO Kendell Victor Johnson. “Like public transit, vehicle and personal mobility have an important role and should be widely accessible, connected and more obtainable. That is the ‘subskryption’ mobility model.”
What makes Subskryb unique from car-share marketplaces is that its “vehicle-as-a-service” (VaaS) platform is subscription-based, not a marketplace. While marketplaces have a revolving door of one-time users, Subskryb is focused on building long- term relationships between private car owners and renters rather than quick transactions. What also makes Subskryb different is that subscription comes with specific criteria that all members, whether car owner or renter, must adhere to. For example, when renters subscribe to the platform, a deposit is required as part of their membership. This deposit is used to cover damages that the renter may inflict on cars, saving the renter from having to worry about these scenarios later. Another example is that the owner must provide Subskryb proof of the vehicle’s condition at least one day prior to its rental date through a built-in algorithm that combines video and form. This algorithm ensures that Subskryb is aware of any defects in advance and can either make the renter aware or have the issue rectified prior to renting. The same process applies to the renter prior to returning the car, so that Subskryb can advise the owner on its condition and what will need to be fixed ahead of time. Perhaps what’s most unique about
Subskryb’s car-sharing model is that unlike marketplace car sharing, its platform is equipped with “Hawk-Eye,” a telematics product that enables Subskryb to track the vehicle and monitor vehicle behaviour. This lets Subskryb assist customers in real time or, in the event that the car is showing to be involved in unsafe driving incidents, it can remotely shut down the vehicle. The platform also provides quick and efficient customer service through either self-service video or a chat bot answering virtually any question. Subskryb was created in 2020 by co-founders Johnson, Giovanni Smith and Preston Martelly, who share over a decade of experience in the car sharing, subscription service and digital marketing spaces. Combining their skill sets, Johnson, Smith and Martelly created Subskryb as a response to the challenges and gaps they saw in the car rental and car sharing industry. After a year of research and consultations with experts, the trio developed an advanced VAAS platform with secure management systems that combines high-quality vehicles with flexible rental options and the highest level of user experience for both car owners and renters.
The response to Subskryb’s unique subscription platform has been overwhelming, even with demographics that have been known to shy away from car sharing, like women and those over the age of 40, taking notice. It has also been gaining notoriety for its community outreach program: It rents unwanted or trade-in cars to those who otherwise would not have access to a vehicle, offering a way to improve their personal mobility. The company plans to eventually go beyond four wheels with its subscription model. As it moves from beta testing to its official launch in November 2021, Subskryb has set its sights on not only transforming the car-sharing sector, but also revolutionizing personal mobility as we know it.