FriendWithA Peer to Peer Renting marketplace
Late one evening FriendWithA founder, Stefan Cordova, was talking with a few of his friends. One friend said, “Man! Summer is coming up fast, I wish I had a friend with a boat!”. Two other times Stefan recalled hearing someone say, “I wish I had a friend with a boat”. It was that eureka moment when Stefan thought, yes! This is what the world has been waiting for, a boat sharing company! Thus, the idea of “Boaties” came to life!
Then came the realisation that not everyone wants to borrow a boat, you might want to borrow a truck, a bike, a skateboard, a one wheel, a snowboard, a skateboard or a plethora of other leisure products. That’s when ‘Boaties’ became FriendWithA, a peer to peer rental marketplace.
The site is quite new and users are mainly around the Seattle Washington area and it’s growing organically via social media and word of mouth, but it opens up some very interesting possibilities if it scales.
Certainly the inspiration for FriendWithA came from borrowing your mate’s mower to cut your grass type loans, but there’s nothing to stop businesses renting out tools and leisure equipment. It’s a compelling proposition as consumers can borrow items the need for a short period of time or use the site to road test products they may be interested in purchasing.
Whilst FriendWithA is relatively new, feedback from renters is positive. Those renting out their kit get insurance offered for all rentals under $3,000 in Fair Market Value and personal liability for any damage or injuries caused by using your items is insured for up to $100,000.
Casual site users can make money by renting out their kit but equally businesses could use it both for rental income and as a try before you buy service to tempt consumers into purchasing.
FriendWithA is still a tiny start up, but if they expanded to your area would you use them either to borrow kit or to lend?
This must be overseas, because I don’t know anyone in the States who would trust people to use their boat or their tools…unless they put a large down payment as collateral.
Interesting idea but insurance is definitely the stumbling block. They only cover value up to $3k, so if someone zoomed off into the sunset with your $50,000 speedboat, you wouldn’t be very happy as I’m sure your existing insurance wouldn’t cover the rental scenario.
However, looking at the listings there are a couple of boats on there, but they’re actually charging over $5k a day to rent them!
Still, it’s good to see new ideas and new marketplaces springing up and I’m sure this one will find it’s own sweetspot. Good luck to them.