Tom West: The Airbnb Of Everything – Enabling Users To Rent Out Things They Already Own And Make Money Doing So

August 24, 2022

The Airbnb of everything – enabling users to rent out things they already own and make money doing so, whilst renters get use of an item for a fraction of the cost of buying it.

It reduces carbon by eliminating the need to purchase an item that’ll only get used once or twice; whilst enhancing the community through the sharing of assets.

Tell us about yourself?

I’ve always been interested in tech, but communities is commenting that really resonates with me. Whether that’s local, social or business, communities are the glue that brings us together.

With nearly 2 decades of owning hospitality businesses I have first hand experience of how the original social networks grew face to face, this experience with a background in tech led me to look at how asset sharing can bring communities closer together.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

Trust your gut and build solid foundations. When it comes to trusting your gut, there are times when you make decisions that you are unsure about.

Sometimes these will mean you might have to redo or revisit something, it’s best to do this early. It’s like taking your medicine, get yourself back up and running today or have to take a lot more further down the line.

What problem does your business solve?

The RentMy software is incredibly versatile so today we are unlocking the value in underused assets whilst providing access to user-ship, which ultimately improves our resource efficiency helping to reduce waste and CO2 emissions.

We’re in a position where if we don’t make drastic changes today there may not be a recognisable tomorrow, so the habitual shift to sharing of rented items is already widely accepted by the younger generations, accelerating this acceptance through all generations will be one piece of the puzzle to save the world as we know it.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

Back in 2006 when on holiday in the South of France I was looking to hire a kayak – there were loads of kayaks sitting idle in people’s gardens, but no way to access them.

I realised that this must be the case for all sorts of items and that sharing our assets could democratise the economy and help individuals increase their income capabilities, whilst giving renters more options and at a cheaper price.

What is your magic sauce?

Our approach to risk management is the main difference on paper: we are working with leading insurers to develop short-term insurance options for the rental market.

However, our customer service approach and the community focus is what will make our rental marketplace a more enjoyable one to be part of for our users.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

The next 12-18 months we are focussed on capturing marketshare of the UK market, developing product improvements, B2B and B2C platform launches and integrating with various partner tools to embed a great experience. 18 – 36 months we will be focussing on new territories expanding to our brand globally.

Our target for SaaS customers using various versions of our platform will be to have over 500 customers of varying levels, with our embedded insurance and robust data structure we should be in a position to move from growth, our first 500,000 users to scale 5 million users very quickly.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

The challenge of a rent anything platform is not one to take on lightly. You need supply, you need demand, and most of all you need to be trust worthy. Building that trust comes in a variety of forms, keeping bad actors from using the platform this prevents malicious damage or theft.

Insurance plays a big factor in this with 70% of customers wanting insurance to be front and centre of what we do, here we have been working with insurers to create a captive policy for our market and our SaaS customers markets.

There’s very little that’s made us change course, but staying focussed can sometimes be a challenge too.

As our business model is so vast we often get approached by similar or complementary businesses which could be a distraction.

I’ve been in business long enough to know when to engage or when to put that into the greenhouse for another day.

This focus allows us to keep the heading on the course but make notes of the sights we’ve seen on the journey to recall them at a later date.

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

On a business level, we’re looking for other rental businesses who want a marketplace software to develop their offerings; as well as investors interested in sharing economy growth.

On a marketplace level, we want your stuff! Everything from you lawn mower to camera equipment and water-crafts can be listed for rent and earn you anything up to £200 a day!

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