Delhi-NCR-based Rentickle is an online platform which offers lifestyle products on rent for subscriptions starting on a monthly basis.
At a glance:
Founders: Amit Sodhi and Vineet Chawla
Year it was founded: 2016
Where it is based: Delhi-NCR
Sector: Lifestyle products’ rental platform
Problem it solves: Provides lifestyle products such as furniture and home appliances on a rental basis
Funding raised: $4 million from Ajay Relan, Founder and Chairman, CX Partners, and ThinKuvate, a Singapore-based VC firm and others
When you have just started out, buying everything from scratch isn't the best option on hand. Most of the times when people shift locations, they are short on cash. In such times, renting turns out to be a huge relief. To help people do that, Amit Sodhi and Vineet Chawla started Rentickle in 2016.
“Renting of lifestyle products such as furniture is an industry, which was till a few years ago, ruled largely by unorganised, local players who would offer very few products with little or no focus on quality, variety or convenience to the consumers,” says Amit.
He adds, “While this industry is quite evolved in the West, in India there was this huge gap facing this demand from young mobile professionals moving across cities for short-term projects, expats coming to India for a few months, and even newly married couples looking to set up a home on low budgets.”
The space offered the founders a win-win proposition in terms of fulfilling a latent demand and towards making a positive difference in people’s lives.
Their startup provides home appliances, consumer electronics, furniture, cameras, water and air purifiers, among other things, on a timely subscription basis.
Amit says, “We offer the best quality by providing our products in mint condition, delivered to consumers’ home free of cost along with complimentary periodic maintenance.”
Support from investors
Rentickle has a warehouse in Gurugram and Hyderabad wherein it manufactures the furniture. It also has tie-ups with different corporates such as LG and LivPure for appliances.
Talking about the challenges of setting up the business, Amit says, “Like most companies in a startup stage, our primary challenges initially were raising capital and building a motivated and committed team that believed in the business model and was eager to make a difference rather than just do another job.”
The founders feel fortunate to have been funded early on and have been guided by the investors.
Rentickle received $250,000 seed funding in 2016 and $4 million in late 2017 from Ajay Relan, Founder and Chairman, CX Partners; and ThinKuvate, a Singapore-based VC firm, besides other investors. The debt line has been extended by DMI Finance Pvt Limited, a Delhi-Based NBFC firm.
Amit and Vineet were colleagues from HT Media and have been close family friends for over ten years now. Both the founders have around 20 years of corporate experience in senior management levels with top Indian and multi-national companies. While Amit is an alumnus of ISB Hyderabad and has worked for 16 years with Maruti Suzuki and HT Media, Vineet holds an MBA from Mumbai University and has worked in leadership roles for 25 years with Godrej GE Appliances, Whirlpool India, and Future Group. At Rentickle, the two founders work with a 55-member team.
Nascent but growing market
The rental rates for lifestyle products starts from Rs 99 per month. “While refrigerators, washing machines and 32-inch LED TVs are popular products in the appliance category, beds and sofas are the top preferences of clients in the furniture category,” says Amit.
The startup launched its services in Delhi-NCR and then expanded to Hyderabad in the of mid last year. It claims to have so far served over 10,000 clients since inception.
The concept of renting is fairly nascent in India and it is now being referred to as ‘shared economy’. According to a media report, it includes peer-to-peer finance, online staffing, peer-to-peer accommodation, car sharing and music and video streaming. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, the sharing economy will generate potential revenue of $335 billion by 2025, globally.
In India, the market for furniture renting alone is seen at around $800-850 million. For electronic appliances, it is a $500-million market and for bikes it is a $300-million market, which adds up to a cumulative $1.5-billion market.
Furlenco, Rentomojo, and Cityfurnish are among the other funded players in the country.
Talking about its differentiator, Amit says, “Our focus on product quality and the compelling value-for-money proposition we offer, are the two most important things which set us apart. We fabricate our own furniture in dedicated manufacturing facilities and have been sourcing and servicing tie- ups with top brands for home appliances, air and water purifiers, etc. These products are then made available on a monthly subscription basis to our clients.”
In the future, Rentickle plans to expand to top cities of India. Also, the inclusion of various other categories such as baby products, fitness equipment and many more is on the cards,” says Amit.