In the HBO comedy “Silicon Valley,” Pied Piper board member Erlich Bachmann drives around Palo Alto, California in a bright green-and-yellow SUV.
The car is a leftover from his first startup, Aviato, in the show’s mythology. Now a real life Silicon Valley startup is using the car to promote its app – and you might be able to drive it.
Turo, a startup that’s best described as “Airbnb for your car,” is renting out a 2006 Ford Escape emblazoned with full Aviato branding, with HBO’s permission, among other cars from popular culture, such as a vehicle “Mad Max: Fury Road.”
The listing was even written by HBO writers, according to Turo.
The idea is that users can rent their car through the app to make a little bit of extra money, similar to how an Airbnb user might rent out a room.
I had the pleasure of driving the Aviato car last week in San Francisco. It is, true to the Turo listing, a 2006 Ford Escape. These are not the doors of a billionaire.
The air conditioning’s not great, and it doesn’t have modern amenities like Apple CarPlay. But what else could you expect from a car that costs $49 per day? The car will be available to rent in San Francisco at first, then Los Angeles.
One thing is for sure: This ride attracts attention. I drove it for a few short hours around San Francisco and Silicon Valley and people couldn’t stop taking pictures – even ex-Googlers love the show.
Judah Friedlander was shooting a new show in San Francisco, and his crew stopped to take photos as well.
The Aviato car shows the promise of a service like Turo, which counts VCs like Kleiner Perkins, Canaan Partners, August Capital, and Shasta Ventures among its investors. It’s possible to get a much wilder and more interesting car than the Zipcar or other rental services offer.
- Business Insider/Kif Leswing