Startup to launch rental app for share economy
Quupe aims to connect lenders with borrowers Valentine’s Day banned in Pakistani capital of Islamabad.
Where can you rent a snowboard for $13 a day? From your neighbour, of course — and with the help of a share-economy app called Quupe.
The Vancouver startup aims to connect people who have rarely used equipment gathering dust in a storage locker with people who don’t want to bite the bullet on a snowblower or kayak.
“We are, on average, 30 to 40 per cent cheaper than a bricksand-mortar [rental] place,” said co-founder Angela Hamilton.
“We wanted to make an app that would allow people to lend and borrow things. That’s the philosophical drive behind it — this desire to connect people who want good stuff.”
The app comes with a ‘rent calculator’ that comes up with a dollar amount depending on age, condition and original sale price of the item. “Nobody really wants to get into the haggling that you have to do when you’re on Craigslist,” said Hamilton.
It’s one of several features Hamilton and the other three co-founders hope will convince people to adopt the share-economy lifestyle, a change that may appear daunting at first, she acknowledged.
“We know we are asking for a behaviour change here. We want to find different ways to make it as easy as possible for the user.”
There is no membership fee for Quupe — people can list goods and rent them on the app for free — and the company makes money by charging a 20 per cent fee on all transactions.
But the app needs at least 10,000 users to become sustainable, estimates Hamilton.
That’s the goal following their launch date on Feb. 28. The app is currently in its betatesting phase with 430 users but people are able to sign up and start using it right away.
Hamilton, who is originally from the U.S., says the team is focusing its initial efforts on recruiting people in young neighbourhoods like Mount Pleasant and Commercial Drive.
The multinational team –— Hamilton’s co-founders are from China, India and Pakistan — plan to launch the app worldwide if it proves successful in Vancouver.
Quupe received support from UBC Sauder School of Business’s social innovator hub, called S3i, where they received mentorship, attended workshops and gained help from business students.
“We’ve only been working with them for a little over a month but we’ve gotten so much value out of it. Overall we just feel very supported and very lucky to be part of the ecosystem,” Hamilton said.
From left, co-founders Zeeshan Rasool, Amanda Shou, Angela Hamilton and Vijay Rama-swamy brainstorm ideas for the launch of their sharing-economy app, Quupe, which aims to help people lend and borrow things.