My gut told me that Getaround, the peer-to-peer car rental service, should be the Battlefield winner.
It was a crowd favorite and solved the age-old problem of finding temporary access to wheels without paying any up-front fees.
However, it seemed to me that the judges found this a messy proposition with possible regulatory issues, insurance issues, and potential customer satisfaction headaches—’the car I rented smells funny’, etc, etc.
My spidey senses were on red-alert while watching the body language of the judges as they listened to Billguard’s final pitch. Fred Wilson was actually engaged and went so far as to say they had a great business in charging credit card holders a monthly fee to find fraud in their transactions.
Though in retrospect, there seemed to be a considerable difference of opinion between Billguard’s founder, Raphael Ouzan, and Wilson over the finer points of how subscribers should pay for this service. I overlooked that clue.
My sentimental favorite was Paul Hoeper’s scrappy invoiceASAP, a mobile invoicing app. I really liked this straightforward solution to billing—perfect for the small business owner, I thought—when I first saw the demo at his booth in Startup Alley.
I had no idea Hoeper’s early stage startup would be facing the likes of Getaround, his heavily capitalized competition. Maybe next year TechCrunch Disrupt can sort the startups into groups—early, mid, or late—and award accordingly.
The winner, as everyone knows, was Getaround. Congrats to them!
Looking forward to giving this service a test drive when it comes to my area.