Contactless rental delivery done as the Kyte Surfer takes to an e-scooter to return to base

Contactless rental delivery done as the Kyte Surfer takes to an e-scooter to return to base

Kyte, an app-based car rental delivery start-up, has officially launched in Boston and surrounding areas and says it now has a fleet of 50 cars in Boston and is expanding every week in order to match rising consumer demand.

Kyte is a platform connecting established rental car company fleets to customers via Kyte Surfers, individuals who deliver and return cars. Users book their rental on Kyte's app or online portal, www.drivekyte.com, and then the company dispatches a 'Surfer' to deliver a car within an hour window of the time requested.

Users are charged a daily rate or can choose more flexible long-term rentals at discounted rates. Kyte says its platform model ensures customers receive the same vehicles they would expect from name brand rental car companies packaged within an on-demand, digital and contactless experience.

Since the beginning of COVID-19, Kyte says it has seen its demand increase up to 40% month over month. This, it says, is in large part due to the company's commitment to providing a contactless, entirely digital experience where customers do everything from verifying their driver's license to signing their rental agreement on their own phone. Kyte enacts a number of extra sanitizing measures following CDC guidelines including sanitizing all interior surfaces before delivery and ensuring all Surfers are equipped with gloves, masks, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes.

Kyte says its delivery feature and seamless verification and booking processes save customers an average of 38 minutes of waiting time when compared to a traditional rental car experience.

"The entire process was so seamless that it almost felt too easy. The two people I interacted with at drop off and pick up were so friendly as well it made the experience that much better," said Kyte customer Esteban Yepez of Cambridge. "The amount of time I saved by not having to go to a car rental site and wait there was great. Especially now during these difficult times, being able to receive my rental at home was so appreciated."

With services currently available in San Francisco and Los Angeles, Kyte says it has seen 45% of revenue come from recurring customers. Given the success in Boston, there are plans to add an additional East Coast city by the end of the year.

"As a former Boston resident, I know the first-hand effects of limited parking in Boston. It's also a city surrounded by world class destinations, but you need a car - The Cape, White Mountains, Vineyard, Berkshires… everything is a drive. With Kyte, those places become accessible," said Kyte Co-founder Francesco Wiedmann.

Kyte says it has raised $3.5m in pre-seed investment to date and has plans to expand to cities across the US next year.