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Interview with Nikhil Chhabra - Founder of Rentongo
Why an entrepreneurship venture after almost 6 8 years of a corporate job?
I think a corporate job does not challenge your capability to the fullest and forces you to do things within certain boundaries. But in entrepreneurship you get the freedom to be creative and learn various aspects of an organization. This difference made me quit my job after working for 8 years in large organizations to start my own venture.
What was the main reason for establishing a renting portal?
We have been living in a country where anything we need to use has to be bought. But that is not the case. Usually all we need is access to a product and need not own it which can be achieved by renting of products. This made us realize the need to have an online platform for promoting collaborative consumption where people can put up their own goods on rent and find products on rent being given by others. If we can make this click in India it can help people save money, space and environment in a really big way.
How did you initially fund your business? Was it difficult to acquire sources of funding? What are the challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?
Initially our business was self-funded. The challenges in starting up a concept like this were many. There were challenges on the front of rental vendors not willing to give us details of their products as they were finding it difficult to accept a platform like Rentongo. We had to showcase the benefits they could derive out of this platform. Then there have been challenges on creating awareness about renting as an option among consumers. We have been able to overcome this with word of mouth publicity as people share the benefits of renting with friends and relatives and in turn also about Rentongo.
Products ranging from adventures equipment to wedding supplies? Do you adapt same strategy to various products or different?
Well our strategy differs to some extent with product categories as most of these categories have seasonal demands. We try and market specific categories at specific times and the same holds good in adding new rental vendors for product categories.
What is the revenue model of rentongo? Do you charge for every transaction that takes place? Or is it a subscription based model or ad based model?
It is a subscription-based model.
How difficult was to find your customer? How did you choose your target customer?
We think that on a platform like this we have 2 kinds of customers – renters and owners. It was not difficult to choose our target customer in both these types as we were quite clear that both individuals and businesses can act as renters and owners. So eventually any person or company who needs any product on rent or can provide any product on rent is our customer.
How did you promote your product? What are the marketing strategies used currently?
We have promoted our products predominantly through online marketing. Going forward we may also use some of the offline advertising methods as well to spread awareness about renting as a concept.
How big is Rentogo right now? What are your future plans of expansion? Is it going to be geographically? Or Product wise?
Currently we have a monthly traffic of 15,000+ visits and more than 700 products with presence in 5 cities. In future we plan to first establish ourselves in the cities where we are already present and then expand geographically.