Son: I want this new video game.
Dad: Son, I don’t think that a good idea. It is too expensive.
Son: But what if I get this game in exchange of another, with my friends?
Dad: Hey, that’s brilliant!
So the father and son duo scouted the internet to find places they can exchange games. The father realised that India did not have an online rental market – where consumers didn’t have to buy or sell. This was his Eureka moment and in seven months it culminated to SabRentKaro (SRK). In a country where people have till date, only known to rent out their houses, and sherwanis, particularly in Hyderabad – this portal lets you rent anything in your house that is lying unused. Not just that, you can also make some money.
“We work on the concept of ‘why buy/sell, when you can rent’. This, on one hand prevents us from dumping products in our houses and indulging in mindless consumerism. And on the other, removes the sense of exclusivity, by helping people realise their aspirations to experience products they cannot afford buy,” explains Raj Sivaraju, the founder of SRK. Being able to feel and flaunt an iPhone6 for Rs 200 or a Rolex for Rs 2,500 a day is not a bad deal, right? SRK charges five per cent from both the owner and the renter. The e-commerce platform which has angel funding of $300,000 lists over 7.500 products.
The new shared era
Relying entirely on the futuristic outcome of his idea, Raj left his job, sold his property to fund his dream. Raj says millennials’ desire for instant gratification fuelled his conviction that the idea of shared economy in the country will bloom in years to come. “This is the era of shared economy and I feel India is ready for it. They can gratify their need instantly even with limited resources,” he says and adds, “For a friend’s wedding, you would want to look dashing, but wouldn’t want to spend `30,000 on designer wear. So the other option is to take it on rent and this is where we come to your rescue,” shares Raj.
While the portal sees every house as a warehouse and every article there, as a potential revenue generator, Raj says it is the homemakers and students who are their target. These days women while staying home are adding to the income of a household. “During a discussion with a homemaker who wanted to know the products that she can rent, we got to know that she has an iPad that her son doesn’t use. She made Rs 2,200 a month with the gadget that was otherwise gathering dust in a corner of her house,” says Raj.
How SRK functions?
As a platform that brings together those who want to lend their products and those who need them on rent, the e-commerce portal makes suggestions to the owner about the rental value of the products, leaving the final decison on the owner. “Our USP, however, lies in the way we process the deal. We verify the identities of both owners and renters as well as the quality of products. Post verification, the product is packed, shipped and delivered at the doorstep of the renter,” Raj explains and adds that all products are insured.
In barely four months of its existence, the startup is looking forward to come up with a rental calculator, provide a maintenance facilities to cover wear and tear of products on rent, and technology that will allow them to track the movement of the rented product, make jewellery rental tamperproof and most importantly strengthen the trust factor among the users. “We are a social marketplace not just an e-commerce site,” says Raj.