The Rentomojo website describes Geetansh Bamania as a ‘start-up evangelist’ and this is no exaggeration. The 27-year-old founder of the online portal, which rents out home furniture and decor, was previously associated with the online furniture store Pepperfry.com, Flipkart.com and Click2Skill.com, which he also founded. The IIT-Madras graduate talks about the idea behind his latest venture and upcoming expansion plans, among others. Excerpts from an interview:
L-R: Ajay Nain, KJ Venky, Geetansh Bamania and Prashant Chanchal
Q. How did the idea for Rentomojo (www.rentomojo.com) come about?
A. I studied in IIT-Madras. My team and I have travelled to and stayed in various cities such as Bangalore, Delhi, Jaipur, Mumbai and Chennai for work. As I was constantly shifting from one city to another, it struck me that buying furniture doesn’t make sense as furniture and home appliances have a depreciating value. By the end of three or four years, if you are shifting homes, you will have to sell it at its residual rate. So renting furniture is the best solution if you don’t want to shell out the upfront cost and if you are not certain of your immediate future plans. If one can rent a flat, why not furniture and home appliances as well?
Q. Where do you source your furniture from? How do you see to it that high quality is maintained in between exchanges?
A. Our sourcing is very unique and sets us apart, so I don’t want to elaborate on that. We tie-up with people who source furniture and have stringent quality checks in place — we conduct a quality check at the customer’s house and if it’s minor wear and tear, we fix it. But if the item is seriously damaged, the customer will have to bear the cost of repair.
Q. So how does the website work exactly?
A. It is similar to renting a flat. You log in, pay a token amount of Rs 500 and place an order. You have to submit documents such as your residential rental agreement. Customers have to pay three months rental charges beforehand as a refundable deposit (which will vary depending on the customers' orders). So if the rent is R1000, the refundable deposit would be Rs 3000. For Rs 1500 per month, we will provide you with a queen-size bed with mattress, a bean bag, study table, chair and a wardrobe.
Q. Have you expanded the catalogue to include popular requests?
A. Yes. People have asked for chest of drawers and bedside tables, which we have introduced. Someone else asked for a treadmill but we didn’t want to get into that right now as we want to stick to the home essentials space.
Q. Are you planning to expand to other cities?
A. Yes. We are meeting with investors and are looking at opening in Pune within a month and half, followed by the NCR region and other cities such as Hyderabad and Bengaluru.