Imagine being able to earn some cash on the side from that camera you have not used in months.
That is pretty much the whole concept for MyRent. It has been described as “Singapore’s first peer-to-peer on-demand rental marketplace” and even likened to Carousell, though items are rented out instead of being sold off.
Ishwar Dhanuka, chief executive officer of MyRent and one of its three co-founders, described the inspiration for MyRent coming to him when he was on one of his ski trips to Japan with his girlfriend.
The 28-year-old thought of filming the journey with a 360° camera but hesitated due to the sheer cost of it and the fact that he only needed it for a one-off, short time. Thus, renting it from someone who had one just lying around for a fee seemed like a much better idea.
When Mr Dhanuka returned from his trip, he discussed this idea with his friends and found that many of them shared similar pain points. He then did some market research and got in contact with a couple of Carousell users whose listings puzzled him, as they were selling like-new items at low prices.
When he asked them why they did so, they said that they had only bought it to use once for a vacation.
Mr Dhanuka then pitched the idea of a rental platform where users could rent items instead of buying to the other MyRent co-founders – who have worked in a variety of startups, such as Funding Societies and PropertyGuru – and the response was encouraging.
Beta launched last December before its formal launch last Wednesday (May 22), MyRent has both Android and iOS apps, as well as a web portal.
It has accumulated over 2,000 registered users and over 800 active listings in Singapore, with items ranging from drones to gaming consoles and even scuba diving equipment. There is even a S$15,000 Rolex watch and breast pumps. The high cost of the latter surprised Mr Dhanuka.
The idea behind MyRent is also to primarily allow users to own experiences instead of things. “We want to decentralize ownership, and create a win-win for both listers and renters — where the former can earn money by renting what they own and rarely use, while the latter can rent a product without actually having to pay the full amount to use it,” said Mr Dhanuka.
“Simply put, why buy something when you can rent it?”
MyRent also noted the rise of the sharing economy, attributed at least in part due to a shift in consumer behavior, as a key reason for its development.
However, for those who are wary of the sharing economy or lending their precious items out to strangers, MyRent highlighted that they offer a Lender Protection Guarantee, whereby items are covered up to S$1,000 dollars in case of any mishaps.
On top of that, to further assuage users, lenders on MyRent are also allowed to ask for a security deposit. Any money that changes hands is first held by MyRent before it is released when a rental is successful, in a style similar to the Caroupay feature on Carousell.
MyRent is also looking forward to partnering with insurance companies to increase the coverage and liabilities that they currently offer under the Lender Protection Guarantee. This is because the Lender Protection Guarantee, for instance, does not currently cover cars.
Finally, MyRent plans to make its peer-to-peer rental platform available in more markets, with a Malaysian release date slated for end-2019. It is also exploring merchant partnerships to help stores rent out unused inventory, and ecosystem partnerships (insurance, logistics sector), and is looking into the possibility of adding a delivery option in the future.
Mr Dhanuka also mentioned that someday, it could be possible for Malaysians to rent items from Singaporeans which are not available to them otherwise.
The priority, however, is to keep the company focused first on solving the very problem he ran into during that ski trip to Japan.