Startup to launch rental app for share econ­omy

Qu­upe aims to con­nect lenders with bor­row­ers Valen­tine’s Day banned in Pak­istani cap­i­tal of Is­lam­abad.

Metro Canada (Vancouver) - - NEWS | VANCOUVER - Wanyee Li

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.

Contributed

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.

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