Excerpts from the interview:
What made you start your venture? When did you start it?
The thought of starting an online rental marketplace came about when my wife and I shifted to Bangalore and were looking for a fully-furnished apartment. Since the options were few, we thought of looking at unfurnished place and went about looking for household stuff on rent to furnish the house. But soon we realized that the product rental market was very unorganized and fragmented. This was something that stayed with me.
In a few years, when our child was born, we began to realize that we had to buy all kinds of expensive baby accessories which were used only for few months, if not weeks. We started thinking about our carbon footprint and how much money could be saved by taking the things we required for short term on rent. This triggered the concept of a platform where people could easily find any kind of product on rent and also put up their own stuff on rent which they spent money on buying but use very rarely. Rentongo.com was started in Nov 2012.
What is your business model?
Our business model is based on connecting renters with owners. On the owners’ side, we list products on rent by various vendors who are into this business and also provide a feature for individuals to put up their personal units for rent. For the renters, it is a single platform for finding any kind of product for domestic, official or event purpose. At present we only connect the two parties involved and do not participate in the actual transaction.
Have your reached break-even? What has been the key to your business’s success?
Yes, we reached break-even in 6 months of our operations. The key to our success has been that the rental market in India is fairly unorganized and Rentongo, as a platform has made the lives of both owners and renters easier by organizing the marketplace. We have created awareness among consumers about various rental options and helped vendors grow their business.
What are the major challenges in your line of business and how did/do you overcome them?
The biggest challenge was to deal with the issues specific to rental market. Vendors who have been in this business for more than 5 years were unwilling to accept an online solution as they were not fully aware of their own inventory. So to convince them to get listed was tough and we had to initially list their products for free to show them the benefits.
Do you have a mentor who guides/advices you on matters of the business?
yes, we do have mentors in our family and friends who regularly guide us on overall strategy and direction as this is a fairly new concept in India. Everybody’s inputs are quite invaluable in helping us move forward.
Have you benefited from the use of any specific technology for your regular operations?
No, we have not applied any specific technology thus far, except that the online platform itself.
What strategy do you follow for Customer Satisfaction & Expansion? Well, we have two kinds of customers – owners and renters. For owners, especially rental vendors it is very critical to show them ROI. So we use testimonials and other methods to show proof points of the kind of benefit they can derive out of Rentongo. In terms of renters, we have predominantly been expanding based on the range of rental products listed and awareness through word of mouth.
What, according to you, are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? I think top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur are – Planning, Perseverance and Adaptability. Visit : http://www.rentongo.com Facebook : Rentongo