As We See It

The quiet exit of Downtown car-sharing venture Shift

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Shift’s fleet of Smart cars
Photo: Spencer Burton

Shift, the “reluctant hardware company” that famously bought 100 Teslas for car-sharing Downtown (and made the Weekly’s cover last fall), has shuttered. From September through February of this year, Shift was beta-testing, and as of March, CEO Zach Ware was still planning a public launch. When cars disappeared from lots Downtown, some speculated Shift would ditch the car component and focus on developing car-share software.

Ware told San Francisco tech blog Pando that he considered changing the company’s course, but decided to quit while funds remained. In a letter to VegasTechFund, he wrote: “Making this decision now allows us to wind down our large and complex operations responsibly and take care of our amazing team while we still had a healthy amount of capital.”

Ware founded the Downtown Project-backed company in 2013 in the hope of using Teslas, Chevy Volts, Smart cars and other vehicles to make car ownership optional. “It’s not a sore subject at all,” Ware told the Weekly last week. “I’m very proud of what we built and how we wound it down.”

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