An Austin startup is targeting people who need a car but don’t want to own one.
University of Texas alumnus Chance Richie and his wife, Amanda, co-founded Mobiliti, a subscription-based app that allows customers to pay a monthly fee for a vehicle of their choice with no down payment. The company, which is headquartered in Michigan, launched in Austin last month.
Richie came up with the idea for Mobiliti because he’s a car fanatic and loves regularly switching to a new vehicle.
“I’ve always been the guy who wanted to trade cars really frequently,” he said, adding that there are many cases “where people need the vehicle but need the flexibility.”
WHAT THEY DO: Mobiliti is an app-based subscription company that allows users to loan a car from a local dealership for one month or longer. A subscription includes “everything but the gas,” Richie said — that’s maintenance, insurance and roadside assistance. In Austin, cars come from the newly formed Divvy Motors near the Domain with monthly fees starting at $549. Users must be at least 21 years old with an approved credit card and driving record.
“Working with Mobiliti essentially allows dealers to give customers at least a 30-day test drive,” Colby Donaldson, director of Dealer Relations-Texas for Mobiliti, said in a written statement. “A subscription service allows customers to live with different makes and models before they make a long-term commitment.”
WHO THEY ARE: Chance and Amanda Richie, a husband and wife duo, co-founded the car subscription company in 2017. They have roughly 11 employees in Austin and 14 in Detroit. The two started the company in Rochester Hills, Michigan and launched the service in Austin last month. There are more than 300 registered subscribers in Austin.
“Austin’s really the perfect market for something like this because it’s a really a tech-forward community,” Richie said.
INVESTMENT: Mobiliti is just beginning the process of raising outside capital, according to Richie. Last month, the company acquired Condor Detroit, a vehicle subscription company. Mobiliti is now operating in four cities — Austin, Detroit, Harrisburg, Penn. and Lawrenceville, N.J.
BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Richie said the company is working on “educating the public on the true cost of ownership.” Students, traveling nurses and those in the military are all people who could benefit from short-term car subscriptions, he said.
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