“Businesses have spent centuries making buying really easy. We’re just at the beginning of making sharing easy.”
– Shubham Jain, CEO- Grab On Rent
Looking to rent different products? GrabOnRent has it all – furniture, party accessories, camping gear and many more. Headquartered in Bangalore with over 50 employees, the company is already making a big mark in the industry since 2015.
Q1. How did you get the idea or concept for the business? What was your “AHA” moment?
Ans: It was during one of our own crisis moments, when the idea for GrabOnRent struck us. We had to organize a barbecue for our party one evening, and had a tough time finding out where to rent it from. We finally decided to buy a new one altogether, since there seemed to be no way we could get it on rent. This experience drew us closer to the various hassles people face while renting objects, and triggered a new idea.
As the idea started taking shape and we were drawing out a plan of action, we had some reservations – what should be our target group, should we launch a fully functional product or a hacky one, which categories to start off with, should we introduce an app-only model or an app-website model, etc. We then decided to keep the set of ever-increasing questions aside and move ahead to launch the product with two preliminary categories in a single society of people, having around 1100+ apartments. With an aim to reach out to everyone, we started distributing pamphlets and were fortunate enough to get a decent number of orders in the first week. The fairly good inflow of orders, coupled with customer feedback and guidance from industry leaders, we chalked out our long term plans.
Q2. What was your mission at the outset? When did you “charter” the business?
Ans: We aim to disrupt the product rental-based sharing economy in India, with a vision to make any product available to anyone. We follow a methodological bucket system to solve the concerns of a wide population, where the four buckets are – Discoverability – Creating awareness in the market and allowing people to browse possible products available on rent Quality Assurance in refurbished products – This helps us improve the ‘sticky-ness’ towards the service and gain loyalty of the vendors who witness repeat customers due to improved quality.
Convenience – This includes online payments methods (or COD) and logistics service, to and fro.
Trust – Dealing with a specialized product rental firm against a vendor forms the basic layer of trust, apart from the curation of quality assured products and a supreme customer service.
Keeping this in mind, we decided to charter the business in 2015, and eventually GrabOnRent was founded.
Things are pretty simple here. All you need to do is browse through the extensive range of products, select the item and make the payment online towards rent and security deposit. The item gets delivered to your doorstep, without much delay. Each item passes through a stringent quality check before being dispatched, to ensure the best of services. Post usage, the item gets picked up, again from your doorstep. Security deposit is then returned online after verification and quality check of the item.
Q3. Do you recommend any “tech tools” for startups similar to yours, to consider?
Ans: My suggestion to all start-ups who are at the ideation stage is to go and study the market at the earliest to gain interesting insights about a variety of things like competition, consumer behavior, etc., which will give you a better idea of the industry. Moreover, there are a variety of peripheral tools available at the disposal of founders today, which they could integrate to their services and save time. A few that I would personally recommend to use are Google Apps for work, Exotel or Ozonetel for cloud telephony solutions, Google analytics to help you track and understand user interaction with your product/platform, and Freshdesk to help you with customer support.
“Moreover, our association with Tookan, the advanced delivery management solution, has brought a lot of relief to us by ensuring efficient tracking of orders, management of deliveries, and keeping the consumer updated in the entire process.”
Q4. Your company was founded in 2015. What are your future plans? Are you planning to integrate more features in the services you offer?
Ans: Moving ahead, some of our future plans are – We are strongly focused towards expansion, and have immediate plans to launch our services in Pune, Mumbai, NCR region and Chennai. We wish to increase awareness about our platform and have more and more people use our services for renting purposes. Our target is to have around 2 million customers by the end of 2020.
We plan to invest in building a robust automated system that would take care of all the actions of a user, right from placing an order to replacing any existing product until the refund process. We hope to minimize human involvement, while providing an excellent user experience.
We have plans to diversify our categories and aggregate all the renting products in the near future. We hope to be the ideal marketplace soon for any vendor looking to rent their inventory.
Q5. What is GrabOnRent biggest achievement to date? How did you go about accomplishing this?
Ans: Among the other noteworthy achievements of GrabOnRent, the biggest one has been the setting up of a strong and passionate team, which has been striving hard to popularise the concept of renting and remove all hassles associated with it.
One incident from last year which I would like to highlight is the event of Chennai floods, when WIPRO was required to migrate 200 of its employees from Chennai to Bangalore. To be able to arrange the bed spaces for 200 people overnight at this time filled us with pride, and all this was possible when we worked together as a team and add value in times of need.
Q6. Do you plan to launch services in new regions? If yes, what would be your strategy?
Ans: Currently, GrabOnRent is fully operational in Bangalore. We have recently launched our services in Hyderabad as well, providing bike, appliances and furniture on rent. We also do plan to launch in Pune, Mumbai, NCR and Chennai in the coming months.
Q7. Where do you see GrabOnRent in the next five years?
Ans: During the next five years, our prime focus would be on creating a business that makes sharing as easy for consumers, as ordering online is. This primarily involves driving people towards a behavioural change – from caring about ownership to thinking of accessibility to products as and when required.
In the near future (five years from today), I see GrabOnRent expanding to major cities of the country, including all Tier I and Tier II cities, while acquiring over two million customers.
Q8. Any other advice for startups trying to make it big in the “sharing economy” ?
Ans: There has been a tremendous influx of millennial population into metros and major cities lately, who do not wish to spend enough to buy bulky physical assets. This is precisely our target audience, 50% of which is constituted by Bangalore’s population, 40% from Delhi and similar numbers for other cities, where young crowd has moved in for a job or a higher education. They are the ones who like to live comfortably without spending too much, and are open to the concept of sharing. The trend has already picked up for furniture, white goods, bikes and apparels, and we see this expanding into other categories as well.
Needless to say, this is a huge opportunity waiting to be explored. The rental market in India is largely unorganized and vastly scattered which makes it difficult to find the right thing at the right time. We plan to bring everything under a single online platform, with strong focus on customer convenience.
Erento, Germany and Rentoid, Australia have already demonstrated the industry’s potential for success. Some of the success stories in product rental space around the world include ZipCars, Run the runway etc.