The founder and CEO of US-based online business-to-business equipment rental marketplace Kwipped, Robert Preville, told IRN the company is expecting to see growth in 2016.
The company, which launched in the spring of 2015, now lists 250 suppliers offering equipment to rent, while its customer portfolio included universities, fortune 500 companies, and government agencies.
Kwipped is a platform that allows organisations which need to rent equipment to connect with a global network of suppliers that rent their equipment through the site.
Mr Preville said growth in 2016 partially depended on potential investor Dollars, which would fund additional sales staff resulting in faster growth of the supplier network.
“However, we are estimating roughly 600 to 750 additional suppliers by year-end 2016 – so the total would be about 850 to 1000. Keep in mind this is for all of the industry verticals we support (not just in construction).”
He explained that most of Kwipped’s suppliers were conventional rental companies. “Rather than perceiving us as competition, they understand that the Internet and this kind of technology offers a lot of efficiency for renters and our platform is simply a way to be a part of it and drive additional business to them.
“Because we are focusing our efforts on bringing the incumbents on board, we do not consider ourselves disruptive. We often compare ourselves to travel sites such as Travelocity or Expedia. The airlines don’t consider them competition - they consider them an opportunity to be in front of travellers that are actively booking travel.
“The online platforms simply make it easy for the user to search, compare and book travel from a single site. That’s what we’re doing - we’re just a single place that renters can go to see and compare lots of great options from reliable suppliers.”
Mr Preville explained that Kwipped does not influence supplier pricing. “The suppliers are essentially competing with each other for the rentals. We have a RentNOW feature, which includes listings of live inventory uploaded by suppliers and those items have rental prices listed for all to see.
“If the renter doesn’t see exactly what they need in the RentNOW inventory, they can submit a quote request. Our system will send the request to all suppliers that meet the rental criteria and the suppliers can choose whether or not they want to return a quote. In this case, the renter can obviously see all of the returned quotes but the suppliers cannot see other supplier quotes.”
Currently, most of Kwipped’s suppliers are located within the US, with a small handful in Canada and Europe. But Mr Preville said the company planned to expand and develop a substantial global presence.
“Our platform is based on proprietary technology designed to support every aspect of the rental process (quoting, scheduling, availability, insurance, security deposits, renter-broker collaboration, billing etc…). Also, there’s no cost for our suppliers to register and be a part of our marketplace - they only pay us a small commission on new business that we send them. Lastly, most rental marketplaces are dealing with a single industry - we are currently supporting equipment rental across 18 industries,” he said.
Mr Preville continued, “We’re a new company (we really just went fully operational this spring). We've already received some seed funding, but now as we are generating more revenue we’re starting to receive some serious interest from investors/venture capital firms.
“Our growth will have a lot to do with the amount of funding we receive. We have a solid proof of concept - our renters and suppliers are giving us very positive feedback about the value our marketplace - now we just need to scale it up.
“The rental market is very diverse, very fragmented and very large. An online marketplace like Kwipped aggregates rental demand and rental supply and makes it easy for them to connect and do business efficiently.”