Interview with Rent Tycoons on Peer-to-Peer Renting
Rent Tycoons is the first company in Singapore to provide a peer-to-peer renting platform for individuals and businesses to rent items to/from each other.
We spoke to Fenni Wang and Swito Yuber, Co-Founders of Rent Tycoons, recently to find out more about their company. Here’s the interview:
1) Why did you start Rent Tycoons? Were you influenced by the concept of Collaborative Consumption or the Sharing Economy?
We believe that a majority of people own more things that they actually need and it is evident in each household – a number of useful items sitting around idle in the storage room, etc. In the long run, such items become a form of clutter that fills up the house or get discarded eventually. Our initial idea was to give life to those idling items and reduce wastage!
The concept of Collaborative Consumption/Sharing Economy definitely resonates with Rent Tycoons. It is evident in our corporate vision: Collaborative consumption is a way of building environmentally sustainable communities. Our mission is to help people make money, save money and be green effortlessly!
2) How would renting benefit the environment?
Renting not only generates economic benefits for our owners and renters, it is in fact a sustainable way of reducing wastage (and the amount of trash!) that is generated by reckless purchase decisions.
It could be a solution to reducing clutter in our homes. Renting instead of buying relieves the burden of ownership and the need to carve out a space to store the item, especially for items that are rarely used. We believe this contributes to a good living environment that is clutter-free!
Renting is a method of reusing where it involves a change towards a greener lifestyle. We transform people’s notion of material possessions. The need to ultilize certain items can now be fulfilled as long as people have access to the items.
Renting as an option will encourage people to rethink consumerism by replacing the need to possess an item.
3) Tell us more about Rent Tycoons and how it works.
Rent Tycoons is an online platform in Singapore that enables individuals and businesses to (a) rent items that they need and/or (b) upload their own items to rent out and make money. The portal allows members to list items, reserve and pay for rental items, communicate with one another and evaluate their rental experiences.
Our website also allows renters to post a request to crowdsource for their desired items. Usually we are able to find a match to meet our customers’ requests within a week.
4) What are some of the challenges you faced? Are consumers in Singapore receptive to renting stuff?
Some of the challenges faced during our first year of operation were to:
(1) Create awareness on the wide range of items that can be rented via Rent Tycoons. People are more familiar with rental services for general items such as houses, motor vehicles, bicycles, etc.
To tackle this, Rent Tycoons embarked on campaigns to educate our community that renting is a more viable option as compared to purchasing an item.
(2) Handle the concerns of owners when it comes to posting their items up for rent. We observed they are mostly concerned about issues such as theft or unforseenable damages to their belongings.
Thus, for owners’ peace of mind, Rent Tycoons enforces a rental contract that binds owners and renters in a legal agreement. In addition, owners can set their own security deposits according to the value of their items.
(3) Manage the apprehensiveness of our renters on the need to make upfront payment in order to reserve their rental items.
The upfront payment will not be released to the owner until the renter sees the item and wishes to proceed with the rental. This empowers the renters and allows them to feel assured when making reservations.
We are glad that over the year of our operation, people in Singapore are beginning to open up to the idea of renting.
Based on our rental statistics, we have observed that certain items are extremely popular among our base of renters – to name a few, standing garment steamer, children’s bouncy castles, video game consoles, chocolate fondue fountain, etc. There is also a growing number of owners who are willing to upload their high-value possessions for rental – for example, a Karcher high pressure washer that is worth over $500, a Nikon V1 camera worth over $400, etc.
5) What’s your plans for Rent Tycoons in the next 3 years?
We have plans to include businesses and professionals in this peer-to-peer rental marketplace.
Rent Tycoons will continue to be the catalyst in driving this green practice in Singapore and to lead collaborations with like-minded start-ups in bringing our green initiative to a larger scale.
By 2014, we wish to make this peer-to-peer rental platform available outside of Singapore.
Source and images credit: Rent Tycoons