University of Toronto graduate Martin Wong was helping his parents move to Niagara Falls when he found himself in need of a ladder and a drill.
Being an avid user of peer-sharing sites like Couchsurfing and Airbnb, he wondered why there wasn’t a place in Canada that he could borrow these items instead of having to buy them. So he decided to make one himself and recently launched Rentything.com.
Rentything is like the Airbnb of things. It’s an online peer-sharing marketplace where people can rent anything from accommodations to cameras to surf boards on an hourly, daily or long-term basis.
Ultimately, Rentything aims to make people money with the things that are just sitting around the house. But Wong also hopes this marketplace will inspire people to discover new hobbies, sports or experiences that they may not have thought to try because of the cost to get started. Imagine being able to test out skiing, hockey or kayaking without needing to buy the necessary equipment up front.
Of course, as users are renting items rather than purchasing them, Rentything intrinsically owns an environmental-friendly quality to it, offering sustainability benefits through its promotion of sharing over consuming. It makes sense then that the site just recently launched in open beta this past Earth day April 22 which also happened to be Martin Wong’s birthday.
Wong explained to me that his community differs from what you would find on classified sites like Kijiji or Craigslist due to its “non-anonymity." All Rentything members are required to have a profile to identify themselves. Members are also asked to earn “Trust Points” which are related to the completeness of their profile as well as their activity within the community including number of transactions. Members can also leave reviews on items they have rented. All of these measures are aimed to lower the risk of renting and improve the quality of the sharing experience.
Rentything is right on trend with a major cultural shift in consumer behavior being coined “disownership” or the “sharing economy." A trend that is on the rise. According to a recent survey in the US, 52% of Americans have chosen to rent, borrow or lease instead of buy in the past two years and 24% are most likely to engage in disownership now than five years ago.
The sharing economy owes its success to the internet which has made access to renting basically anything possible. Successful startups like Airbnb and well-known ride-sharing companies like Zipcar, car2go, Uber, SideCar and Quebec City’s Kangaride have proven how convenient and trustworthy it can be to share and rent rather than to buy and own.
Like other peer sharing startups, Rentything has created a marketplace out of things that wouldn’t normally have the potential to earn money. At the time of this article, the most popular items on the site were digital cameras, gaming systems, and even cars. You can even find your inner rocker at just $50 a day by renting an Epiphone Emperor Swingster Royale electric guitar.