Rentcycle, a provider of online rental solutions, last week received $1.4 million in financing from top Silicon Valley investors, including the primary investment fund for Facebook and Twitter, the founder of PayPal, the chairman of Yelp, and the founder of Shopzilla.
Rentcycle says it can provide rental businesses with tools to enhance their businesses online.A cloud-based rental management solution, Rentcycle grants rental merchants access to their inventory, reservation and customer data anytime, anywhere, from any device. Rentcycle offers a rental e-commerce solution designed to transform static websites into revenue streams through real-time reservations and payment. All bookable products can also be discovered through Rentcycle’s online rental marketplace where businesses can attract brand new customers.
Rentcycle also recently welcomed two key advisory figures to support its business.
Chuck Templeton, the founder of restaurant reservation service, OpenTable, joins Rentcycle’s board of directors. Templeton will help apply the OpenTable business model to the product rental space, an industry that is 95-percent offline. He serves as chairman of GrubHub, the online restaurant take-out and delivery service. Templeton's track record for introducing technology to local businesses gives Rentcycle an advantage as it expands its e-commerce platform for brick and mortar rental businesses.
Marc Randolph, the founder and visionary behind online DVD rental service Netflix, joined Rentcycle as a strategic advisor. At Netflix, Randolph oversaw consumer marketing efforts, successfully moving a traditionally offline rental vertical online. Currently a board member at BookRenter.com, the textbook rental giant, Randolph brings extensive expertise in online rental platforms to ensure that Rentcycle becomes the premier destination for consumers to rent anything from local businesses on the web.
“Marc Randolph and Chuck Templeton created two of the most powerful consumer web brands by matching basic consumer needs with creativity and vision,” said Tim Hyer, CEO of Rentcycle. “We have a similar opportunity at Rentcycle and are fortunate to have such seasoned entrepreneurs helping us succeed. On top of this, our investors carry rich backgrounds in e-commerce, marketplaces, local commerce, online-to-offline and collaborative consumption.”
Rentcycle’s financing was led by Collaborative Fund, a firm focused on investing in startups that shift the economy from hyper-consumption to collaborative consumption — a movement that promotes renting and has been pioneered by companies such as Netflix, ZipCar and Airbnb. Unlike many popular collaborative consumption companies that are building peer-to-peer communities, Rentcycle has made a strategic decision to focus on growing the business-to-consumer rental industry, which it says is an $85 billion market that includes tools for home improvement projects, bicycles, skateboards, formalwear for men and women, event and party rental, and more.
“Rentcycle has the opportunity to change the way society consumes,” said Craig Shapiro, founder and CEO of Collaborative Fund. “The groundswell around paying for access instead of ownership makes this a ripe time for renting to become a viable alternative to buying. Rentcycle introduces the technology required to bring an offline industry online and make renting easier and more efficient for businesses, rental professionals and general consumers.”Rentcycle, www.rentcycle.com, is headquartered in San Francisco.