Silicon Valley’s newest mobility start-up, a short-term auto leasing company named Canvas, is backed by old-school muscle: Ford Motor Credit Co, the dealership and customer funding arm of U.S. car manufacturer Ford Motor.
From its San Francisco base, Canvas began using variable-term leases with versatile payment options to Bay area consumers in early May, with strategies to ultimately present the service to other cities.
Canvas’s roots go back to an earlier start-up called Breeze.
“Our objective is to determine, test and launch financial products that satisfy the altering needs of consumers,” stated Ned Ryan, co-founder of Breeze and president of Canvas, in an interview.
The concentration on customers, including those who may not get approved for standard vehicle leases or don’t want to make long-lasting financial commitments, is a pivot from Breeze’s original mission, which was to provide short-term vehicle leases to ride-sharing motorists who worked primarily for Uber and Lyft.
When both ride-sharing firms started providing lease plans of their own, consisting of short-term funding deals through General Motors’ Maven subsidiary, the possible market for Breeze thinned considerably and the company stopped operations in July 2016.
Seeing a similar opportunity and a more comprehensive audience, Ford Credit acquired the possessions of Breeze, in addition to a number of its executives and workers, in November 2016 and rebranded the firm as Canvas.
Ford Credit acknowledged “the requirement for monetary services and technology to facilitate our future vision of mobile,” stated David McClelland, executive vice president of marketing and sales.
The Breeze acquisition offered Ford Credit access to a web-based platform and month-to-month automobile “subscriptions” that bundle mmaintenance, insurance and roadside help, aimed at more youthful, non-traditional motorists.