Getaround has said it has 5 million users.
But travel companies have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic as large swaths of the global population have been ordered to stay mostly indoors. If Getaround cannot find a buyer or an infusion of cash, the startup may consider bankruptcy protection, said one of the people familiar with the matter, all of whom asked not to be identified because the information is private. Other backers of Getaround include Menlo Ventures and Toyota Motor Corp.
A spokeswoman for Getaround wrote in an email: “Like many other businesses, we are dealing with the impacts of the Covid-19 outbreak, both in the U.S. and Europe, and we are evaluating the appropriate steps to manage this unprecedented event. This includes the support of our investors.”
Economic impacts from the virus have been far-reaching and immediate, and startups have been particularly vulnerable. Many are unprofitable and lack a financial cushion. The trouble among SoftBank’s portfolio of startups has heightened concerns over the conglomerate’s creditworthiness and the value of its investments. Even before the pandemic, SoftBank Group Corp. founder Masayoshi Son faced criticism for pouring billions of dollars into unproven and unprofitable companies. OneWeb, backed by SoftBank Group, is considering bankruptcy, Bloomberg reported.
Getaround and the broader car-sharing industry had been facing challenges even before the pandemic. The number of vehicles on car-sharing networks as of January, about 2.7 million, is dwarfed by the number of ride-hailing drivers, 64.6 million, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Getaround said in January it had dismissed some workers but that it would continue to operate in more than 300 cities and that its revenue was growing sixfold.
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