Releaseit, a rental marketplace startup founded by Peter Krideras and Stephen Kulmar, is opening up rental opportunities for retailers as part of its three-prong launch strategy.
Since a soft launch on October 15 it has brought 52 retail organisations into the fold, and beat its SKU target of 15,000 by launching with 22,000 on the site.
Krideras is one of the original founders of Click Frenzy, while Kulmar is the founder of RetailOasis.
The business is targeting growth through three pillars: the existing rental industry, which it evaluates at $8 billion in Australia — think Radio Rentals and Kennards — alongside peer-to-peer rentals, and retail to rent.
For retailers that are seeking a recurring revenue model, renting out products makes business sense, Krideras tells RetailBiz.
“They understand the recurring revenue model is a wonderful model for business. They’ve also identified a new and emerging demographic that isn’t looking to buy stuff. They’re looking for access to products, experiences, and are mindful of their carbon footprint.
“You want to engage with this new and emerging audience. By 2024 they will be dominant in the market. This is a catalyst for brands to think differently,” Krideras says.
Having only launched this month, the retail-to-rent model is still being worked on and built up, with existing rental companies and peer-to-peer options the more low-hanging fruit for the startup. Considering the longer-returns on renting individual items out to multiple users compared to selling a product once, it’s something that retailers could consider.
As Krideras explains, “It is definitely a lot more attractive than the retail proposition, but rentals come with complexity. That’s where we come into play and address those complexities. The retail rental proposition we want to take to market isn’t completed, but we’re in discussion with key retail brands. We want to test, trial, and approve the offering before going to approach a wider range of retailers.”
As the peer-to-peer function on the marketplace is already built, Krideras says it’s a good option for smaller footprint brands with one, or few stores. Releaseit charges a 20% commission on rentals through its platform.
Krideras says, “There’s an appetite from smaller retail companies that have engaged with us around the proposition. Being able to work with large electronic stores and brands with footprints is a part of our plans, but there’s quick wins working with small players with a one-store or small footprint.
“Those guys could potentially fit into our peer-to-peer model, as customers would still be transacting on the site, but picking it up from a retail store and returning them there.”
The company advisory board and investor list includes Sandradee Makejev, Donna Player, Catherine and Tony Nash, Geoff Stalley, John Hughes, Shane Lenton, Kerry Walsh, Shelly Silberman, Julie Mathers, Guy Nappa, and Anthony Nappa.
It is currently running on seed funding of $3 million, with Krideras telling RetailBiz the company will likely do another funding raise next year to build its growth.
“We were able to source significant capital on our first raise, along with the who’s who of retail. Our forecast indicates we will be profitable early-to-mid next year. For now we need to prove the model works, to validate our forecasts and confirm the metrics we use are accurate,” Krideras says.