Interview with Anshul Johri, Founder at Rentomo

Final-3

[This interview is sponsored by workspot.in , India’s leading aggregator of co-working spaces, meeting rooms and shared offices. If you have additional office space and are looking to rent it, please do list it on workspot.in. If you are looking for space for your startup, do visit workspot.in]

 

Sharing Economy is certainly a big thing today and we are seeing a number of start-ups based on this concept which are doing pretty well. Uber and Ola, the taxi hailing start-ups, AirBnB and Couchsurfing, the housing rental platforms, and many others are all resultants of sharing economy. The concept of sharing economy is simple. There is some unutilized or under-utilized asset at one place and there is a need at some other place, just connect these two. Another recent start-up which is based on this same concept is Rentomo.

Rentomo is an online platform that allows users to rent or borrow everyday items which they need only occasionally to people in their locality. The borrower saves money by using the borrowed product and the lender makes money by renting out a product which he may only occasionally need and would also not like to sell because he might need to use it again. The products can be easily uploaded on the platform and can be rented out for a small fees. The start-up which was founded by ex-amazon employee, Anshul Johri, has a vision of making every city a sharing city and helping the users share their stuff within their trusted community.

Let’s hear the story behind this start-up from the founder himself, Anshul Johri.

What motivated you to start the company and what is it all about?

I am highly inspired with Airbnb model and when we (I and my wife) travelled to 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. The borrower saves money and at the same time owner makes money from the item which they were sparingly used. But trust plays an important role here.

Rentomo is a platform that enables you to borrow the things you need from people nearby. It allows users to borrow/rent everyday items they may only occasionally need – like a drill,ladder,camera,bicycle,travel bag etc. Why does everyone feel the need to purchase their own private set of consumer items – a hammer, a tent, a badminton racket – that everyone else has, and that lie unused most of the time? We encourage people to share stuff with each other through our technology enabled platform.

What is the current Team Size?

We are 5 people. This includes Anshul Johri (the founder) and 4 folks who are handling web, mobile app, marketing and operations respectively.

How did you hire your initial team?

It was through a friend’s network. We wanted to build a team with like minded people who are willing to work in a startup culture; people who are passionate about the idea and want to innovate in their respective fields. We are lucky to have a strong team.

Which recruiting channels work best for you?Referrals/Job Boards/ Staffing Agencies?

We have not tried out any agency yet for recruitments. It all happened through a friend’s network.

What are the key factors that you look for in a potential candidate?

The person should be self motivated to work in a startup environment and willing to learn every day. He should have the right attitude towards his work and peer members.

According to you how much is the competition in your vertical? How big is the industry? Who all are your competitors and what are your views on them?

I want to highlight a couple of points here.

  • $9 Billion worth of used goods market in India.
  • $335 Billion estimated reach of sharing economy revenues globally by 2025 from $15 Billion in 2015.
  • 50,000+ local rental stores, Facebook pages & groups in India.
  • 45% products are used once in a month in a single house.
  • 2.5 Million people travel daily out of their city for a short trip.

There are a few more startups 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 are your marketing strategies? Do you take help of Social platforms to promote ? Which channels have been very effective?

We get a good traction from Facebook. We have a considerable and strong fan following on our business page and also get good traction from Facebook local groups. Apart from Facebook, we have not explored other social media channels much. Though we have some followers base on twitter as well but that is not our main marketing channel yet.

What has been your experience with paid marketing channels?

We have tried out few paid marketing channels like facebook, google, etc. They are good for getting instant traffic and building awareness but I am a firm believer of organic growth of a website.

Can you elaborate on the Challenges in promoting your website/app?

I think the biggest challenge is to find the right audience/groups and to target them. We are trying both online and offline promotions just to see what works well.

What is the current traction? Can you share some numbers on Usage and Revenue?

Within 5 months we got 1500+ verified registered users, 300+ listings and close to 250 transactions. We have also started B2C partnerships and have got on-board around 30 vendors from Bangalore. The numbers are growing day by day. From the response perspective I want to share a story behind a transaction –

“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 charger and gave 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).”

Based on your experience, would you give any advice to the new Entrepreneurs/Startups?

If you want to do something in your life, preferable something of your own, and have been waiting for the right time to come than this is the time, just do it now. Have patience; work hard and you will create history. Remember there is no shortcut to success other than hard work. Last but not the least, do not run behind funding, instead focus on creating value, build a good product and make more customers happy, funding will follow.

App: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.rentomo.activity

Website: http://www.rentomo.com

Area of business: Sharing economy (online rental marketplace)

Office: Bangalore, India

 

[This interview is sponsored by workspot.in , India’s leading aggregator of co-working spaces, meeting rooms and shared offices. If you have additional office space and are looking to rent it, please do list it on workspot.in. If you are looking for space for your startup, do visit workspot.in]

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