My Startup World speaks to Vaibhav Doshi, the CEO of RentSher, about the company, the services it offers and its plans for 2018
Tell us about RentSher. How did the idea come about?
RentSher is the region’s first and only marketplace for rentals of events, electronics, medical and travel related products and services. Our platform enables customers to search and book products online from a range of products and we ensure delivery to and collection from your doorstep. RentSher today hosts around 1000 unique products available for rent from nearly 100 partners.
The idea of RentSher came up when we were looking at developments in e-commerce, on-demand and sharing economy. Anything ranging from a book to a burger or a car to castle was available on demand but a similar offering was not available for rentals for events, electronics and medical products. For example if you wanted to rent furniture for a party there was no online platform where you could discover available options or pricing and order whatever you like.
Lots of parents shared about their struggle to organize birthday parties for kids – the stressful hours calling suppliers for furniture and/or bouncy castles and ended up paying a premium to event organizers. It became clear that we were not the only ones getting frustrated and that a one-stop-shop solution focused on rentals of products and services will make lives easy. We then set-out to create RentSher with a mission to make renting easy.
Did you face any challenges when setting up?
UAE offers a great business environment and hence in general it is not difficult to set-up a new business. There were two key challenges in the early months:
- Licensing: There was no similar business in the UAE and hence the licensing authority took some time to understand our business and assigning appropriate business activities.
- Talent acquisition: The other key issue we faced was to set-up the initial team. Getting the right talent early on is really critical to success but it’s not easy given that every start-up has limited resources and time to move forward.
How is the company funded?
We boot strapped till Dec 2017 and managed to grow the business to a level where investors got a solid proof of concept. With that we recently raised seed funding in a round led by Shorooq Investments and supported by multiple angel investors.
Are you looking for more funding?
We are not looking for immediate funding since we just closed our seed funding round. Our current priority is to make the most out of the funds we have raised and focus on building the team and driving growth. We may be looking to raise the next round of funding towards end of the year and hence we continue to meet the investors to share our story.
Which markets do you currently cater to?
Currently we operate in the UAE only but we plan to add 2-3 cities outside UAE in 2018. While Dubai still remains the busiest market for us we are seeing increasing demand in Abu Dhabi and other Emirates.
What sort of target audience do you cater to?
Our services cut across families, corporates and tourists alike. For example – anyone looking to rent products for an event or laptops for business need or a car seat for a traveller is a target audience. A great aspect about our offering is that everyone instantly connects to the idea of renting and therefore all families and businesses hosting events or guests are our target audience.
What is your plan for 2018? What milestones do you want to achieve?
We are already working on plans to expand in the region in coming months. Further, we will continue to add more products and rental services on the website. We will soon have an Arabic version of the website as well. In addition – based on our 15 months of learning and feedback from customers and vendors – we will add certain industry defining and unique features on the website.
As RentSher’s operations continue to grow we are now focused on three things:
- Making more and more people aware of us and how we are making renting easy.
- Ensuring that we deliver only the best quality to our customers.
- Hiring exceptional talent to build an exceptional organization.
Any other info you would like to add?
A few other points I would like to highlight:
- As a neutral marketplace we take care of interest of both parties i.e. provide a fair and transparent pricing to customers and at the same time keep a refundable deposit to secure vendor’s interest in case of loss, damage, and so on.
- We have already served large B2B customers (corporates, event companies, five star hotels, government entities, and so on) and over 3000 B2C customers across UAE, in all seven Emirates.
- RentSher is set to transform the way renting happens by reducing the transaction costs for customers as well as increasing asset utilization for the asset owners.