Given the choice between accumulating dust or money on useful stuff you own, most people would likely go with cash. That’s the driving idea behind RentStuff, a service that lets you rent out useful possessions to people nearby.
RentStuff closed a $600,000 round of funding today, the startup told VentureBeat exclusively. Essentially, RentStuff functions like an Airbnb for items. But instead of spare bedrooms, you’re making money on neglected stuff around the house.
With the exception of weapons, you can list pretty much any physical item for rent on the service, including laptops, camera lenses, moving trucks, bikes, recording equipment, etc. The rental price and availability are both determined by the item’s owner, who also arranges a time and place to drop off/pick up the item from the renter.
The owner can also set a security deposit for each item listed. Both the rental amount and the security deposit are charged to the renters’ credit card only after both parties have met and confirmed the initial exchange, which can be done via email, text message, or directly on the RentStuff website.
“When I’m traveling, it’s easier for me to rent a good bike on RentStuff than it is to take mine on a plane, and haul it around to wherever I’m staying,” RentStuff co-founder Chris Jaeger told VentureBeat. With the explosion of lodging services like Airbnb, he said its only natural that people would want access to some of the other comforts of home. I can also see the advantages in paying a few bucks to rent out a gadget that I’m likely only going to need once or twice per year.
Jaeger said the new funding will be used to hire more engineers, grow the rental platform, and expand into new cities. RentStuff is available in most major cities, with a strong presence in San Francisco, New York City, and Nashville, Tenn., which is where the startup was founded. The money will also be used to relocate the company’s base of operations to Chicago.
In terms of generating revenue, RentStuff takes a cut from every rental transaction. But, Jaeger explained that the startup is more focused on growing the platform and generating interest than it is on profitability. RentStuff faces indirect competition from NYC-based rental service SnapGoods.
The round of funding was led by Nashville-based early-stage investment firm Solidus Company, with participation from Angel Investor Management Group and a small group of angel investors. RentStuff also received funding from startup accelerator JumpStart Foundry in 2011.
Check out a demo video from RentStuff embedded below.