Sharing Economy in India is picking up. As per a report by Forbes, Global sharing economy is worth $15 billion today, a figure that is projected to hit $335 billion by 2025 and India is also moving towards it rapidly. We see many startups coming up in this sector, one such startup is Rentomo which enables its users to rent/borrow things.
Founded in May 2015 by Anshul Johri and Shubham Maheshwari, Rentomo is a platform that enables its users to borrow things from people nearby on a rented price. It allows users to borrow/rent everyday items they may occasionally need, like a drill, ladder, camera, bicycle, travel bag etc. to someone in their trusted network.
On talking about idea to start Rentomo, Shubham Maheshwari said, “Anshul is highly inspired with Airbnb model and when Anshul and his wife travelled Europe and stayed at Airbnb hosts at multiple places, they realized the potential of sharing economy. He thought when sharing can be done for houses than why not for all the items/stuff/resources. A platform where people can borrow items from owners and return it back in same condition. Borrower saved money and at the same time owner made money from the item which he/she occasionally used. But trust plays an important role here. So after coming back he started thinking to build some tech platform around trust.”
Talking about their venture name meaning, Anshul said, “We wanted to go with mobile first approach so we thought of rent on mobile which became Rentomo in short.”
What are the key services and features of the startup?
Bangalore based startup is using technology to connect people to lend and borrow items. The exchange of items is among a trusted network. It provides location based search and availability of items, an on demand access of items and discoverability of items available in local or in neighborhood.
The owner and borrower are connected to each other in some way or the other. They might not be knowing each other directly but they will have some mutual connections for example mutual friends on facebook, have studied in same college, working in same company or staying in same apartment etc. The company identifies the connection between the two and thus trust is established which helps in renting of items.
How do you ensure the safety of the items rented?
All user listings on the platform are verified. An online and offline check of the user is conducted by the startup to ensure authentication of the user.
The product available on rent also undergoes a check by the firm, along with its owner’s verification. Once the borrowing and renting transaction is completed, the company does a verification of the item by calling the owner. The platform also provides a fair rating system.
“At the end of the day it is between the owners and borrowers to sort their dispute mutually if there are any. But till now we have not encountered any such problem. We have received positive responses,” said the co-founders.
What is the market size and market opportunity?
There is a $9 billion worth of used goods market in India. It is also estimated that the reach of sharing economy revenues globally will reach $335 billion by 2025 from $15 Billion in 2015.
There are around 50,000+ local rental stores, Facebook pages & groups in India engaged into goods rental service. Almost 45% products are used once a month in every household. Therefore, an online goods rental platform holds a potential to grow and expand.
Other services functional in this space are Faida, irentshare, RentSher, etc.
Present Status and Future Plans of the Company
The company has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Dubai based investor.
Within 3 months of the launch there are about 1000+ verified registered users, 300+ listings and close to 100 transactions have been made as the startup claims.
The company has also ventured into B2C partnership and has 10 vendors on board.
Currently the platform is free to use. It is planning to own the entire end to end process with payments and logistics. Post which it will start charging the users a small commission or nominal fee for each transaction.
The company targets a 10,000 user base in coming 3 months and around 2,500 items to be listed on its platform. Its Android app will be launched soon.
With new startups coming up everyday in this sector, soon a cut-throat competition will be observed among these startups. Since it is a consumer centric business model, the startup providing seamless customer experience to its users will be at a favourable position.