Startup Story #4- Robert Preville on How KWIPPED is providing an Online Marketplace for Renting Equipment
Aston wanted to make his girlfriend’s birthday party special by being the DJ and playing her favourite songs. But he didn’t have a sound board and any other system……The party was a great success.
Steve wanted farm equipments for his new country side business. But he didn’t have the capital to make this investment……. He is successfully running his business today.
Carol needed an Infant Incubator and Infant Warmer for an emergency delivery, but she didn’t have time and money to buy one…….The baby took his first steps today.
One thing that is common in all the above three cases is KWIPPED, a new addition to the Sharing Economy. The company provides a marketplace type of platform for equipment owners and those who require the same, and helps them collaborate and utilize the assets in the best possible way. The company is not only addressing the problem of idle assets, but are also offering the benefits of collaborative consumption to B2B market.
In conversation with Robert Preville, Founder and CEO of KWIPPED.
Q: Tell us something about KWIPPED, and how it works.
A: There are businesses and organizations that need to rent all kinds of equipment, and there are equipment suppliers that have that equipment available to rent. KWIPPED (a short, slang term meaning “Equipped”) is an innovative, online equipment rental marketplace where businesses can quickly locate the equipment they need, and request rental quotes or rent directly from a global network of KWIPPED suppliers. KWIPPED currently services more than 500 equipment categories across 16 industry verticals with plans to expand as demand dictates.
The user platform is designed specifically to support rental transactions and streamlines the entire process:
- With a few clicks renters can find the equipment they need and either rent it directly from a single supplier or submit a request for quote that includes all of their rental criteria.
- Direct rentals are processed immediately and a confirmation is established between the renter and the supplier. If a quote is requested the KWIPPED system automatically and immediately sends the request to all of the suppliers that meet the renter’s criteria.
- Eligible suppliers provide a rental quote back to the renter who then chooses the preferred response and accepts the agreed upon terms with a click.
What used to be a cumbersome, time-consuming process that required hours of research and back-and-forth communications can now be done in minutes, all on one user-friendly website. KWIPPED automation matches renters with the ideal suppliers with unprecedented efficiency.
Q: How did you come up with the idea of KWIPPED?
A: I used to own an equipment rental company (GlobalTestSupply.com). The rental division was lucrative but it was layered with inefficiencies. Many customers only learned of a rental option after inquiring about purchase and there never seemed to be price sensitivity, which implied limited supply. Obtaining a signed rental contract was a tedious and manual process of collecting information and faxing documents.
I figured mine wasn’t the only company experiencing challenges. I thought a marketplace built on the right technology platform would streamline the process. I also thought customers would be better served if there was a way to aggregate supply.
Prior to GlobalTestSupply.com, I was a founding employee at MFG.com (a portfolio company of Bezos Expeditions). MFG built an online marketplace for sourcing custom manufactured components. Having designed the MFG technology, I thought concepts could be extended to the equipment rental business.
At a crossroads in experience and a knack for finding opportunity in inefficiency, KWIPPED was born.
Q: How are you marketing KWIPPED to make it a first preference in the market?
A: Several ways. First, we want KWIPPED to be more than just an online equipment rental marketplace – we also want to establish KWIPPED as a central resource for valuable information related to each industry vertical we serve and the rental industry in general. Our staff is constantly researching and monitoring the latest news and trends and working hard to share the most important developments and ideas to keep KWIPPED renters and suppliers in the know. By leveraging our KWIPPED blog, Twitter and other popular social media outlets to become a “go-to” resource, we’re already seeing our rankings and positions move up in online search.
Because KWIPPED is such a unique online marketplace in an industry with so much activity, we’re also getting a lot of exposure in industry trade pubs and blogs.
However, our most valuable marketing resource is the website itself and the positive feedback and buzz it’s creating. Renters love KWIPPED because it just makes finding and renting equipment amazingly simple. Suppliers love KWIPPED because we expand their market reach, expose them to a much larger target audience and generate rental transactions that they otherwise would not have had. Once renters try KWIPPED they keep coming back – and we have not talked with a single equipment supplier that doesn’t see the value of being a part of this exciting new virtual marketplace.
KWIPPED and On Demand Rental Equipment Services
Q: How is KWIPPED contributing towards revolutionizing the On Demand Sector?
A: The Internet and mobile technology have obviously completely transformed every aspect of the economic landscape. Customers (B2B in this case) expect to be able to search for, find and get what they need from anywhere and at any time, within minutes. Most industries and businesses have adapted to this new expectation, but for some reason, the commercial equipment rental industry has lagged behind – that is until now. Now there’s KWIPPED! Within minutes renters can find the equipment they need, make arrangements with the suppliers that have the equipment and complete the transaction all on a single website. We like to say, “Click. Rent. KWIPPED.”
Q: In your opinion, why do we need On Demand Mobile Service Solutions for the Rental Equipment Marketplace?
A: The people who buy and rent technical products are the ones in the trenches. It’s the engineers on the factory floor, the technicians who climb towers, the contractors moving earth and the doctors working in the field. Their work is mobile and the information they need to do their job should be accessible at any time and in real time.
Sourcing for technical products is not like buying clothes or music. There is little emotion in deciding on technical solutions. You need technical products to perform a specific function. Often times you consider multiple solutions to accomplish the same task and you choose your solution based on the economics and applications.
Having a marketplace of equipment rental suppliers at your fingertips offers you options in real time. The quicker you create options, the sooner the job gets done.
Q: How are you planning to position KWIPPED against prospective competitors, and how will you sustain your USP?
A: Through a lot of research, some focus groups and some trial and error, we feel confident that KWIPPED’s proprietary rental transaction system is the sleekest, most comprehensive and user-friendly rental platform available anywhere – truly one-of-a-kind. While competitors may eventually try to copy our super-efficient platform, they’re going to have a hard time matching other parts of our winning formula, including:
- Our people – You can’t copy or duplicate things like passion, dedication, integrity and creativity. If competitors want to copy us, they’d better be on their toes because we’re a staff of forward thinkers. We’re going to be constantly innovating, evolving and improving. KWIPPED is a great idea and a unique solution that meets a market demand – but it is our staff that will ultimately drive the success of this company.
- Our service – When we started KWIPPED our founders sat around a table and decided that we didn’t care about providing good customer service – we cared about providing extraordinary customer service – the kind of service that makes people take notice and immediately decide to remain a loyal customer. That kind of commitment can’t be faked, and if any competitor can match our service level – then they deserve our respect and admiration and their share of this very large market.
- Our commitment – As previously mentioned, in addition to providing an amazing platform for fostering renter-supplier relationships and expediting equipment rental transactions, we want KWIPPED to be a primary information resource for our customers. We’re doubtful many competitors are willing or able to make that kind of commitment.
Q: According to you, what is the most important thing to keep in mind while disrupting the traditional Equipments market?
A: A decades-old industry won’t allow itself to be disrupted unless there’s a really good reason. KWIPPED isn’t a threat to the rental industry, KWIPPED represents an opportunity to transform equipment rental into something even more amazing. We want our value proposition to be so clear and obvious and attractive that there will be no question that it’s a smart business choice and resistance to change will just fall away.
Think about this… with a platform like KWIPPED, businesses can go beyond just renting equipment when they need it. Businesses now have an opportunity to get creative and be proactive about trying new things and attracting new customers without needing a lot of capital or taking on risk. A business can go on KWIPPED.com to discover and rent equipment that will enable them to expand their services. They can try out a new service they’ve never offered before to see of there is demand. They can say “Yes” to jobs they would have turned away in the past because they didn’t have the equipment and didn’t realize how easy it was to rent it.
On the supplier side, businesses that are not even in the rental business can create new streams of revenue by allowing KWIPPED to be their channel for rentals. Imagine a non-rental business that has equipment sitting idle in their warehouse. They can become a KWIPPED supplier, showcase that idle equipment on KWIPPED.com and potentially rent that equipment to make some extra money. KWIPPED is a marketplace for equipment rentals and for growth opportunities!
Q: Where do you see KWIPPED in the next 5 years?
A: KWIPPED is poised to address inefficiencies in the existing $50 Billion marketplace. This marketplace includes companies that rent equipment exclusively like United Rentals, but also includes distributors and dealers that have a rental division (GlobalTestSupply.com). Beyond the traditional industry participants, we think there are a whole lot of companies that have idle assets that would receive a tremendous benefit if they had a simple way to rent them out.
AirBnb created a platform where people could vacation at nontraditional hotels and bed and breakfasts. Uber created a platform where people could receive rides from nontraditional taxis. KWIPPED will create a platform where companies will be able to rent equipment from non-traditional rental companies.
Q: Any word of advice for all the startups out there, who are trying to make it big like KWIPPED.
A: Everyone seems to have advice for start-ups these days. The founders of KWIPPED have an engineering mindset. We have taken a scientific approach to developing the business. We identified a problem and proposed a solution, but regularly test our theories and adapt to realities. This process is dependent on our ability to perceive freely and without limits.
The best advice we can offer is to stay humble. Humility increases the likelihood that you will not place limitations on your own perceptions.