The rise of the sharing economy has, apart from the growth of rental services platforms such as Airbnb, Ola, and Uber, led to a change in the Indian mindset. Indians, who have always preferred to own rather than rent (be it homes, cars, or jewellery), have opened up to the idea of renting what they need.
According to EY, the global sharing economy, which was worth $3.5 billion in 2012 and growing at around 140 per cent CAGR, touched $115 billion in 2016. By 2020, it is likely to reach $250 billion. Another report, by PricewaterhouseCoopers, reveals that the rental market will touch $335 billion by 2025 globally. India’s rental industry may be highly fragmented, but it forms around 10 percent of the global figure. Reason enough for startups in India to eye a chunk of this very appealing pie!
A bunch of online rental startups have come up, in popular categories such as furniture, electronics, home appliances, cars, and fashion, to cater to the burgeoning demand.
YourStory has curated a list of five startups operating in this space that have adopted different business models and market strategies to stay ahead of the competition:
The Clothing Rental
Mumbai-based The Clothing Rental rents out haute couture apparel at reasonable rates. Apart from an ecommerce portal, the startup also runs two brick-and-mortar stores in Mumbai.
The renting platform was founded in 2005 by Shilpa Bhatia, an entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience as a stylist, and public relations, brand building, and business development specialist. She holds degrees in sociology, fashion design, and fashion marketing from SNDT, IED Milan, and Parsons New York.
Started with an initial capital of Rs 10 lakh and 20-30 units of merchandise, The Clothing Rental now has 1,000 SKUs available for renting and purchase. The startup has already delivered to Delhi, Noida, Haryana, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Pune, Udaipur, Raipur, Jaipur, and is now eyeing pan-India growth.
“Our USP is offering great products at a great price, with a big smile. We love to help our clients and we make them feel special,” Shilpa says. Over time, the startup has broadened its verticals and currently offers women's wear, men's wear, Indian wear, and western wear.
The bootstrapped venture has more than 1,800 customers across India and 200 monthly customers. It claims to have achieved 100 percent year-on-year growth since the past four years. Its app is available on Android and iOS.
Launched in 2017, Bengaluru-based Ziniosa is a handbag rental portal that lets its customers rent luxury handbags from leading international brands for three, seven, or 15 days, or on a monthly subscription basis.
Founded by Ashri Jaiswal and Varun Ramani, Ziniosa’s handbag rental pricing starts at Rs 999 with a guarantee of 100 percent authenticity. The bags come with strict quality assurance (QA) and hygiene checks.
Ziniosa was pre-incubated at NSRCEL, IIM-Bengaluru’s incubation centre, and is also recognised by Startup India. In just 1.5 years, the startup has managed to attract 1,400 subscribers and a cult following among women in the age group of 20-35 years. It stocks handbags from over 20+ international brands, including Valentino, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Michael Kors, Kate Spade, Coach, Love Moschino, DKNY, and Ted Baker. It currently delivers to over 20 cities in India, and has a huge customer base in Tier I and II cities.
“Each time a customer rents from Ziniosa, they save up to Rs 25,000 while the company makes a profit on every handbag,” the startup said in a statement.
Ashri is a TEDx speaker with a master's degree in engineering management and has worked as a project manager for several years. Varun, an electrical engineer, worked for companies like Philips and Keithley Instruments before the duo decided to start their own venture.
Ziniosa now plans to expand its inventory and include more products from brands that are highly in demand (Gucci, Chanel, Fendi, Louis Vuitton, etc). The company also plans to fully launch a new service - allowing customers to put their own bags up for rent. This project is currently in beta phase.
Who doesn't dream of arriving in style in a Mercedes S-Class or a BMW 7? Bengaluru-based Hype, a luxury car rental service, makes this possible. Founded by siblings Raghav and Vijaya Belavadi in 2017, the platform is now operating in seven cities across India, including Delhi, Chennai, and Mumbai. It has several partners and thousands of luxury cars in its fleet.
HYPE didn't raise any initial seed fund and now aims to raise large capital to develop its own fleet with key partnerships with BMW and Mercedes India.
Hype offers a range of cars, including BMWs, Audis, Jaguars, and Ford Mustangs, and even has Rolls Royces and Porsches. It works with an online payment system and offers customisable plans, based on their customers’ needs and demands. Its app is available for Android users.
“The thought behind this brilliant innovation was to provide people with hassle-free bookings of their choice of car without making compromises on quality and delivery,” the startup said in a statement.
Gurugram-based ZiffyHomes, a technology-driven online marketplace for home rental services, lets users rent or let out their homes without brokerage.
Founded in May 2015 by Sanchal Ranjan and Saurabh Kumar, the startup offers ready-to-move-in individual room, flat, apartment or house for long stays. Owned and operated by Ziffy Technologies Pvt Ltd, ZiffyHomes currently operates only in Delhi-NCR and is looking to expand to other cities. The company says it connects owners to niche, verified tenants, and help them to earn home rentals round the year in addition to trouble-free house maintenance.
Last August, the startup raised around Rs 82 lakh ($120,000) from Silicon Valley-based accelerator Y Combinator. It was part of Y Combinator’s summer cohort for 2018. The firm also received Rs 2 crore from a group of angel investors, led by Bikky Khosla, angel investor and CEO at TradeIndia.com; and Anirudh Agarwal, Managing Director at Shree Sharda Group; in January 2018.
Founded in 2016 by Sidhant Lamba, New Delhi-based Fabrento provides access to state-of-the-art furniture for rent at affordable prices with free delivery, setup, and installation. The company is backed by Continental Group, a multinational group having various companies under its flagship with a presence in more than 18 countries.
“The USP of our company is, it not only lets rent you some of the best furniture, but you can also purchase the same if you love it,” the furniture rental startup said in a statement.
It is currently operational in Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Thane, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, and Pune.
Apart from Fabrento, Sidhant also runs The Style Stamp, an online platform that enables you to discover, flaunt, and shop fashion and style, curated by its a global community. It also keeps users updated on fashion events happening across India and the world -- from exhibits and previews to runway shows.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)