Anshul had an inborn urge to make something of his own, something that helps the community thrive. Instead of dropping out of college in a typical Silicon Valley tycoon’s fashion, he took very calculated steps before arriving at a point where he can start something of his own.
After doing his masters in Computer Science, he worked for companies like Amazon, Yahoo, &BookAdda, where nurtured his entrepreneurial instincts with rich industrial experience to get a better understanding of the business world.
In June 2015, he finally came up with Rentomo, a peer-to-peer marketplace for renting everyday use items – a unique business model for the Indian market. Growing continuously since its launch, Rentomo has acquired a decent consumer base and has firm plans to grow further.
Please provide a brief overview of your product/ service.
Rentomo is a web & mobile app- based (android) service that enables you to borrow things you need from people nearby. It provides a platform that allows users to borrow/lend everyday items they may only occasionally need – like a drill, ladder, camera, bicycle, travel bag etc. within their trusted social circle. Why does anyone need to purchase their own private set of consumer items – a hammer, a tent, a badminton racket – that everyone else in their neighborhood already have, which lie unused most of the time? We encourage people to share stuff with each other through our technology enabled platform.
What inspired you to build the above product/ service?
I am highly inspired by Airbnb model and when we (I and my wife) travelled Europe and stayed at Airbnb hosts in multiple locations, I realized the potential of sharing economy. When it can be done for houses, why not for all sorts of items &resources?
So I thought of building a website where people can borrow items from owners, use the stuff and return it back in the same condition. By renting stuff, borrowers can save money, and at the same time, owners make money from their unused stuff. But trust plays an important role here.
After coming back to India, I started thinking to build such a tech platform which people can trust. We want to provide a marketplace model where people have easy and on-demand access to all the items they need within their neighborhood.
There are a lot of underused items in each house which people do not wish to throw away or sell as they use them often. At the same time, there are people who are looking for those items for the short duration. We just connect them through our platform.
What is your life mantra?
If you want to do something in your life, and waiting for the right time to come, then this is the time, just do it now. Have patience; work hard and you will create history. Remember there is no shortcut to success other than hard work.
As an entrepreneur I have learned one important lesson – Do not run behind funding; instead, focus on creating value, build a good product and make customers happy, funding will come on its own.
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
Though it is still an early stage of the journey but there have been a good amount of challenges both professionally and personally. Professionally the toughest moment was to find the right mindset of people and build a strong team.
Share some details about the investments that you have been able to fetch for the business till now
We raised $100K from a Dubai-based angel investor in December 2015.
Tell us about your company’s attrition control practices.
We have a healthy work culture. Every person is the owner of his own product/work and has full responsibility to drive the show. This practice gives every person in my company to perform at its best and be innovative in whatever they do. We do not force anyone to follow certain timing in office/home. They are free to do things whenever they want, given that they deliver on time and meet their commitment.
We have an open sharing culture, which helps people to think out of the box beyond their own areas. For instance, a developer can give a new marketing idea, similarly, a marketing person can give a new product feature idea. This adds fun and a healthy atmosphere in the company. Apart from that we have regular outings and feature launch celebrations.
According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?
- One should be willing to try new things and willing to fail a lot
- There is no perfect product or app on day one, so do not wait till all the features get implemented. Implement fast, fail fast, learn fast, grow fast.
- Success is a state of mind, so do not measure your success with the amount of funding you get. If you are happy with what you are doing and making someone happy with your work, you are successful.
Which online tools/ services/ apps do you use the most and would like to recommend as well?
I am a firm believer of open source and freemium tools so there is a whole big list but just to summarize a few –
- Tech: AWS, Linode, Bitbucket, Jira, Solr etc.
- Product: Google apps, Hubspot, Buffer, Canva, Mailchimp, Zoho, WordPress, Connecto, Hello Bar, Similarweb, Evernote, Pocket, Slideshare etc.
Share any one habit which you think makes you more productive.
I set the goals for every day/week/month in work and write down those goals. My daily goals are written on sticky notes, which I stick on my laptop or desk. I make sure at the end of the day those goals are completed.
Share any one habit which you wish to change in yourself.
I am not a good negotiator and I believe to be a good business person one should have the quality to negotiate. The art of negotiation helps people in business greatly. But that’s an art which I am yet to learn.
Answer in less than 50 words
Believe in yourself
- One mistake you believe every individual must avoid
Do not measure success with money
- One most important lesson that you have learnt till now
Failure and success both are part of your journey so do not overreact in both situations, stay calm and keep working hard
What are your plans for next 3 years?
Expand Rentomo to a few more cities;transform it into an even better product, and built a yet stronger team.
What are your top three getaway destinations?
I like places which are away from city noise and have natural beauty & sound. It could be anything like hills, countryside, calm sea beach, coffee/tea states or even a forest (safe). In South India, I like Pondicherry, Kodaikanal, and Coonor.
If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?
I will be doing the same because I love what I do. Same thing, but maybe a little differently.
Share a quote that inspires you the most.
Don’t worry about failure, worry about chances you miss when you don’t even try because in the end we only regret the chances we didn’t take.