At Rise My Venture, We recently got an opportunity to interview Rentomo founder Mr. Anshul Johri. He says: – “Rentomo is a unique concept of peer-to-peer sharing marketplace while others are still into inventory-based models. We are investing into building technology behind the trust network”.
“Rentomo is a platform that allows users to borrow/rent everyday items they may only occasionally need – like a drill, ladder, camera, bicycle, travel, sports accessories, bag etc. and that to someone among their trusted network. Same time it also opens the door to make money from your unused or underused items lying at home and which you don’t want to sell either because you use them occasionally. You can easily upload those items on Rentomo and start sharing within your community. Why does everyone feel the need to purchase their own private set of consumer items ¬ a hammer, outdoor tent, badminton rackets, bag-packs, bicycle, medical equipments etc ¬ that everyone else has, and that lie unused most of the time? We feel that more and more consumers will start to realize that access to stuff is actually cheaper, more convenient and greener than ownership. And we have live and successful examples of peer to peer sharing like Airbnb, Uber, and Spinlister etc.
But the big question is how are we going to trust the other person? That is where the technology plays a role, we are building a tech enabled platform to provide you the richer experience of sharing stuff among your trusted Communities/ societies/ colleges/ companies/ groups/friends etc. Our mission is to form a sharing city where you have instant access to everything in your Neighborhood. The vision is to see every city becoming a sharing city.”
Who are the founders and their background?
We two founded this awesome concept.
How and when did the idea of Rentomo happen?
I am highly inspired with Airbnb model and when me and my wife traveled Europe and stayed at Airbnb hosts at multiple places, I realized the potential of sharing economy and when this can be done for houses than why not for all the items/stuff/resources. Where people can borrow items from owners, use the stuff and return it back in same condition. Borrower saved money and at the same time owner made money from the item which they were sparingly used. But trust plays an important role here.
How did you go from concept to execution to launch?
First we did some market analysis, we (both of us) personally met few users (in our apartment, companies, groups, friends and family) and explained them our idea. We got 100% positive response. We started working on prototype in the month of Feb/March 2015 and then started full time when we left our job from June 2015 onwards. Since we are techies so first we focused on building a good MVP. We focused on what kind of technologies we should use thinking long term etc. How to build our backbone (trust network), we also focused on raising some angle funding so that we should be able to invest in technology, people and product. We launched our 1st beta version in July 2015.
Why our society need rentomo platform?
The concept of sharing idle products and services with others using peer-to-peer services has given birth to a new kind of economy. Uber and Ola are prime examples of success in this kind of collaborative economy. According to the latest PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) report, this collaborative economy has the potential to increase global revenues from around $15 billion now to $335 billion by 2025. Peer-to-peer businesses – more commonly known as collaborative consumption or share economy – is growing and covering different products and services. While the idea is slowly catching up in India, globally collaborative consumption has been around for close to a decade now.
What kind of signs up and revenue (if any) have you seen so far? What’s your team like?
So far we are getting good traction; people are recognizing us and started realizing the potential of sharing economy. Since our backbone is trust network. We created a platform that makes it easy for people to find that neighbor/ friend/ colleague or a person in trusted network that’s willing to lend what they need. We also have an interesting story to share here which happened with us few days back –“A guy (not my immediate friend) who landed in Bangalore today from Delhi forgot to bring his correct Macbook charger, by mistake he brought his Macbook air charger instead of Macbook pro. He was supposed to attend a business meeting in two hours after landing and on the way to his client office he contacted me via rentomo to borrow my charger (an extra one I have) for 2 days. Within half an hour he came, picked up the charge and said a very warm thank with a big smile on his face. He was even ready to pay me extra for it (and he was totally unaware that I am the founder of the company).”
What’s your competition?
There are few more new startups are coming up in online rental space, but their model is different from what we are doing. We are into peer to peer sharing marketplace while others are still into inventory-based model. We are investing into building technology behind trust network.
What kind of funding you’ve received and is on the cards?
We raised angel funding last month and now in talks with some leading investment firms.
What have been/are some of the biggest challenges?
From business side – Trust: This is the most challenging think in this space. That’s why we are majorly focusing building technologies around trust network. Be its user verification, making connections between lenders and borrowers or making people believe on our platform.
From personal side – We are also finding right people who give you right advice and hiring good people with startup mindset.
What are the future plans of expansion?
We need to invest in technology, product and team. Great company/ product is built by great team not by individuals. We are also looking to raise more funds. Opening channels to onboard more and more users. Our target segment is students, corporate people, people who are staying in gated communities and societies. We also have B2C plan in future but still thought process is on.