(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) When looking at intersection of e-commerce, on-demand and sharing economy, Vaibhav Doshi, CEO and co-founder of RentSher Middle East, saw a huge gap in the market. The Oxford University Alumni and ex-McKinsey consultant realised that while one can order anything from a book to a burger online or reserve anything from a car to castle on demand - there was no place for basic needs on events, electronics and medical product rentals.
"For example if you wanted to rent furniture for a party there was no online platform where you can discover available options, pricing etc., and book whatever you like. Thinking further we realised that even as parents we have always struggled to organise birthday parties for kids and had stressful hours calling suppliers for tables/chairs and bouncy castles or ended up paying a premium to event organisers since we did not have time. It was clear that we were not the only ones getting frustrated and that a one-stop-shop would make life easy for millions. That's how we decided to establish RentSher," says Doshi who founded rentsher.ae along with her wife and co-founder Purvashi Doshi in Dubai in 2016.
RentSher, the region's first one-stop-shop, provides event furniture, audio/video equipment, laptops, medical equipment and travel essentials for rent.
RentSher's custom-built platform delivers the convenience of renting anything from tables and chairs for a garden party to bouncy castles for a kid's birthday or a car seat for your guests - all online, in a few clicks. "Our platform enables customers to search and book products online and we ensure delivery to and collection from your doorstep. RentShertoday hosts around 1,000 unique products available for rent from nearly 100 partners," Doshi explains.
Serving both B2C and B2B customers - RentSher has already completed thousands of rentals at key venues such as royal palaces, five-star hotels, exhibition centres and event venues across all emirates.
"With the diverse and at times transient population, the UAE is a great market for rentals. Family and corporate events along with tourist needs are well served with our offering. The residents here are very receptive of new ideas and we have received a lot of support from all corners. Having served all 7 emirates we also learned that each city in the region is different and we will need to adapt to the dynamics of each city in terms product mix," he continues.
Revealing his strategy to remain competitive in the market, Doshi says: "We want to stay focused on serving our customers and deliver on our promise of making renting easy through a great technology platform and a great team.
"We believe competition is a good thing as it never lets you go complacent. For us it's not about staying ahead of the competition - it's about doing the best for our customers and business partners and we believe that the rest will take care of itself," he continues.
Today, RentSher's online rental platform is live in 4 cities in India. Through its UAE platform and partner network RentSher has served clients in 3 other GCC countries as well.
"By end of 2018, I expect RentSher to be operational in 2-3 more countries in the region. Our immediate priority is to secure a Saudi market entry by Q2 2018," Doshi says.
The CEO is satisfied with the responses of his business partners and customers.
"The month-on-month double digit growth along with everyday joy stories from our customers strengthens our belief in what we are doing. Further, our partners are witnessing growing business from us and are investing in assets based on our recommendations," Doshi claims. "We are in the process of doubling our product inventory in next 2 months and also creating a lot of curated rental packages that will be exclusively available on RentSher," he says.
Purvashi describes the elements that differentiate RentSher from others.
"One - we are online with fully transparent pricing, accurate product details and ability to book in real-time; two - we are a one-stop-shop where you can rent anything. So no need to deal with multiple vendors for your events. No other vendor/platform offers it today; and three - we are here with a vision of making renting easy and creating a brand synonymous to renting. That reflects in how we do business and our customers as well as our business partners feel it," Purvashi stresses.
Doshi says after raising $600,000 recently, Rent-Sher may not be looking to raise funds immediately. "There is interest from strategic investors from some target markets so we may look into that. We may be looking for next round towards the end of this year," he says.
Mahmoud Adi and Shane Shin, managing partners at Shorooq Investments, Abu Dhabi, believe that RentSher offers unique solution to connect the traditionally opaque, closed rental supplier market with enterprise customers and individual customers.
"I normally have tens of similar platforms to buy a product but I struggled to think of a one-stop-shop to rent all my needs and sometimes I really don't need to buy it and would much prefer to rent. RentSher addresses this exact problem and its strong value proposition has been well validated by the double-digit month-to-month growth in revenue as well as the superb repeat customer dynamics," Adi says. "We are confident that RentSher is the first and leading online marketplace for rentals to disrupt how we think of the renting experience and are excited to build the company together with such a strong founding team," Shin adds.
Doshi's aspiration is to be operational in 25-30 cities across the region serving thousands of customers every day.
"We will make renting so easy that it becomes part of daily lives, very similar to what food delivery and ride sharing have become today," Doshi concludes.