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Sarah Wig writes articles for Investocracy News, a news and media platform focusing on startup news from Africa and Asia

Kenya based start-up, Zuru, has launched a car rental app that allows car owners to rent out their cars without using an agent.

Zuru designs, makes, and markets innovative toys and high quality consumer products. In order to create transparency in the industry, Zuru has launched Zuru Car Rental.

It uses a similar Airbnb-like model with improved security features and insurance cover. Rawlings Otini, the CEO of Zuru, said, Currently, there is a lack of order and credibility in the industry. There are con-men posting cars online and after asking the customers for deposits switch off their phones. We want to end that.” This innovation also aims to reduce the number of idle cars (approximately 95%) in a cost-effective manner.

The company started off as a car hire agency linking vehicle owners to clients. Till now, the app has listed a number of car-hiring companies across the capital Nairobi and Mombasa. Zuru will launch in Kismunu soon.

Using Zuru’s new app, car owners can upload images and descriptions of their vehicles. Owners set the prices for their vehicles. Users can then book and pay for those rentals using the app’s secure M-Pesa escrow service. M-Pesa is Kenya’s leading mobile money transfer medium. The platform deducts 10% of the entire transaction. Therefore, the driver gets 90% of the transaction.

The app ensures the satisfaction of its customers in numerous ways. Customers look for a car of their choice and contact its owner for payment through the app. The money is kept safely in an escrow account. The customer clicks the confirm button on the app after being satisfied with the condition of the car. The app also has an in-built rating system that rates users with stars rewarding the best owners and customers.

To be cautious of fraud, the company has only signed trusted hosts who have uploaded their vehicles like Go4Fun, Unicorn Car Hire etc. In addition, individual car owners can list their vehicles at no charge. Furthermore, to secure cars and reduce instances of theft, the app employs big data analytics from the devices and Google tracking.

Currently, Zuru Car Rental is available on the Google Play Store. Zuru is working on the iOS version and a web platform.

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