You’ve heard it before: The sharing economy is going to change everything. New York City startup Baro is betting on it: This company wants to make everything you own available for rent.
Where’s the need, you ask? Actually, everywhere. Someone in your building, your office, your gym, has something you want. And you have something they want. And if either of you are willing to part with those somethings for a bit, then Baro is in business. Baro’s platform gives you a way to easily exchange money for borrowing (get it?) and lending things.
Baro is essentially the Uber of everything.
Thanks to an independent study curriculum, cofounder Lauren Graham literally majored in the sharing economy. She saw an opportunity for a Baro-like business a year and a half ago when she decided to do some light renovations on her apartment. Despite not owning the proper tools herself, she simply gave her neighbors a few bucks to borrow theirs for a few days.
“We looked into businesses that existed at the time that were trying to do similar things. There were a few, but nothing that had scaled yet,” she said. “It was a pretty obvious idea to help people make money off of stuff that’s just sitting around.”
Graham met cofounder Hannah Salwen in a social entrepreneurship class, and the pair “pretty much started the company in class,” she said.
Those looking to make a little extra cash on the items they already own (anything from televisions to 3D printers to musical instruments to power tools) can put their inventory online through Baro’s service, set a price they think is fair, and wait for customers to come calling.
Once there’s a paying customer in the picture, they can either make arrangements to meet in person to hand off the item, or they can have it delivered from the owner to the renter for an extra $12-$15. (Though this delivery option is only available in New York City.)
Baro retains 18 percent of the total rental fee and the owner pockets the rest. Worried about people breaking your stuff? Baro indemnifies all items up to $10,000 and boasts a $2 million insurance policy.
After a soft launch in early January, Baro has seen 232 signups, 25 transactions, and has made a little over $400.
Screengrab via Baro/Vimeo