Rent Tycoons lets you rent things to anyone
October 12, 2011 by Terence LEE
The website is started by Swito Yuber and Fenni Wang out of their own needs. Fenni was frustrated with the clutter in her storage room and wanted to clear out the items to make space. She shared her problem with Swito, who also had unused items at home and thought about renting it out.
That’s how the idea for Rent Tycoons came about.
They’ve managed to secure a YES! start-up grant from Spring Singapore, which provides up to S$50,000 (US$39,000) in funding. They launched their website a few months later, in September 2011.
Rent Tycoons is pretty easy to use. After creating an account, you can start adding items to the marketplace right away, filling out details such as name, description, category, pictures, rental fees, as well as pick up and return instructions. You can even place a security deposit.
If you want, you can even tell friends about your item through a Facebook share button, although it will be nice if Twitter functionality is added as well.
On the other side of the coin, if I’m interested to rent something, I can either use the search box or browse manually by clicking on the right categories. I can add items I’m interested in to a cart. Once I state the duration of the loan, the total price will be tabulated and I can proceed to check out.
Payment is made through Rent Tycoons itself, via PayPal or bank transfer. After the online transaction is made, a security code will be given to me, which I will pass to the owner in exchange for the item, at a time and place we agree on.
This code protects me because I can withhold it from owners should I find their items unusable or different from what was advertised.
Owners can list their items on the website for free, although Rent Tycoons does charge a 10 percent fee for every successful transaction.
Renters can use the service free-of-charge. Also, they can request for an item that is not listed on the website, and this encourges other members to put up stuff that’s in demand.
Peer-to-peer rental is a concept that has begun taking off around the world. Sites like Airbnb and Roomorama allow property owners to rent out their rooms directly to vacationers. Rent Tycoon’s concept is not exactly new either: It has already been implemented successfully in countries like France, the US, and New Zealand.
Whether Rent Tycoons will succeed is dependent on how open Singaporeans are to this concept. The more items get listed on the website, the more attractive it becomes. What the service does have in its favor is Singapore’s high density urban environment, which means meeting people face-to-face to exchange stuff is easy and convenient.
Moving forward, they will continue raising awareness about this mode of renting, which is also friendly to the environment.
They also hope to incorporate a rent-to-own option, and encourage rental businesses to use their platform.
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About The Author
Terence LEE - Editor
Terence writes mainly about technology trends and startups in Asia. He believes in crafting smart content: Not just a regurgitation of text, but well thought-out pieces that serve the reader using a combination of data, design, narratives, analysis, and visual impact. His articles have been published on Venturebeat, Yahoo!, Straits Times, Today, and The Online Citizen. He also co-founded NewNation.sg, a satirical news site covering Singapore affairs. Engage him on LinkedIn and Twitter.Read other posts by Terence LEE