NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- After three days and 32 pitches, car-sharing service Getaround emerged as the winner Wednesday night at TechCrunch Disrupt's Battlefield start-up competition.
The start-ups pitched to a live audience of 2,000, top tech execs and venture capital investors at New York's Pier 94 this week with hopes of taking home $50,000 in cash.
The winning start-up, San Francisco-based Getaround, lets users rent out their cars by the hour or day to others through its Web site or through an iPhone app. Car owners set the car availability and price, while Getaround deals with insurance through an agreement with insurance giant Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A - Get Report).
Getaround hopes to solve the problem of car underutilization and overpopulation, said founder and CEO Sam Zaid."There are over 250 million personal vehicles in the U.S. and they sit parked 22 hours of every day," he said. Since launching last week, more than 1,600 renters have signed up to use Getaround -- around 20% the size of Zipcar's (ZIP) fleet. Marissa Mayer, Google's vice president of consumer products and a judge at the event, said she was "super impressed" with Getaround's service. "You're working on a really important, every day problem," she said. Fred Wilson, the principal of Union Square Ventures and an investor in start-ups like Foursquare and Twitter, added that Getaround was "terrific." Runners up in the Disrupt competition included BillGuard, a service that monitors your bills for suspicious charges, and Sonar, a social networking app. --Written by Olivia Oran in New York.
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