"Don't buy, rent": how Spanish startup Rentall makes product access easier and fosters the circular economy

Can a fully scalable, highly profitable business model be environmentally sustainable as well? Spanish startup Rentall Partners thinks so.

With the support of the EIT Digital Innovation Factory, the company has developed a "smart renting platform" which can be used for different vertical industries, such as consumer electronics and electric mobility.

Big brands such as Carrefour Spain and Leroy Merlin Spain have integrated the startup's technology into their offering, allowing customers to easily rent for a monthly fee the latest high-range smartphone or DIY tool.

At the end of the renting contract, Rentall buys back the product and resells it to buyback companies.

The process is fully digital and takes just a few clicks to complete.

Furthermore, the end customers do not have to worry about the product being stolen or damaged, as insurance is included in the transaction.

In pure circular-economy fashion, if the product is in good condition, it can be sent to the second-hand market to be bought or rented again; alternatively, its main components can be recycled separately to reduce waste.

"Our platform connects four parties to enable the financial transaction; the bank, the insurance companies, the broker and the buyback company," says Francisco Carvajal, who co-founded the startup together with Marta Peréz and Bertrand Rigaud.

The collaboration with EIT Digital within the "i3 Lifestyle" Digital Finance innovation activity was instrumental in setting up three specific components of the platform: the biometric recognition tool that is used to quickly identify the customer, the fraud management and online scoring system to minimize the risk of fraud during the onboarding, and the smart virtual assistant which enriches the customer experience.

Besides smartphones, tablets and home appliances, the startup is currently powering the rental of batteries, electric scooters and ebikes on the Spanish market.

"To be eligible for renting, products must meet a few requirements: a relatively high price tag (it makes sense to rent an iPhone, for instance, not so much a low-end device); a significant technological obsolescence, and the existence of a secondhand market," Marta Peréz and Bertrand Rigaud explain.

In 2023, Rentall plans to expand to France and Italy and add other product categories to its offering: TVs, solar panels, photovoltaic batteries, video game consoles, to name just a few. Electric cars will also be included in the mid-term.

To boost its growth, the company is now looking to raise more than €2m, of which €400,000 have already been secured from early-stage investors.

The money will be used to further develop the platform, recruit new talent, and launch the startup's international expansion.

The EIT Digital Innovation Factory supports the creation and early boost of European startups for their successful entry into the market.

Selected innovation activities are embedded in our pan-European ecosystem and receive financial support and professional guidance to package their technology, sign up customers and attract investors.

Check out our dedicated Innovation Factory webpage and learn more about benefits, process and current application deadlines.

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Co-Funded by the European Union