Driving rental car companies to success

Rental car companies around the world face the ongoing, and expensive, challenge of getting their vehicles from a drop-off destination back to home base. With the birth of TransferCar, an online relocation service that provides free one-way rental cars to flexible travellers, this problem has been solved.

TransferCar was co-founded in 2008 by the University of Auckland’s Brian Karlson, an academic and programme director working in the fields of business and bioscience. Before the birth of TransferCar, rental car companies faced high relocation fees from transport companies, and they often had to wait until the number of cars in one location made it cost effective to bring them back to base. TransferCar helps rental car firms in United States, Australia and New Zealand
secure relocation drivers, significantly reducing the cost of transferring their cars
between branches.

TransferCar uses a database to quickly source flexible drivers who can meet the
relocation needs of rental car companies. Since 2010, TransferCar has provided
around 2,600 free trips in rental cars and campervans to flexible travellers across New Zealand. A fee is charged for each relocation that TransferCar facilitates.

Brian’s academic background has positioned him well for his role at TransferCar,
where he led the company’s strategy, management, sales and capital development. Between 2011 and 2014, Brian was a Programme Director of the University of Auckland’s Master of Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship, a role that involved recruiting students and leading the programme’s curriculum design, implementation, and evaluation. At the same time, Brian was also a Professional Teaching Fellow, lecturing in Master of Bioscience Enterprise programme, where he taught entrepreneurship, innovation management, and research commercialisation. Brian also managed and supervised several early stage science commercialisation projects and maintained relationships with leading science and innovation organisations, including Callaghan Innovation, WaikatoLink, and UniServices.