A new tech start-up based at the Innovation Birmingham Campus is launching Borroclub.co.uk; a marketplace for people to rent out their idle household items to others who live in the locality. Pitched as the middle-ground between eBay and throw it away, 1,000 items are anticipated to be listed on the online platform across the West Midlands before the end of 2015.
When listing items on Borroclub.co.uk, the lender sets the price per day, plus a security deposit. When the item is returned and its condition is confirmed, the deposit is returned. Both the lender and the borrower can decide whether the item is to be handed over at their home, or if they prefer, Borroclub can collect and deliver it.
Matt Dredger, CEO of Borroclub.co.uk and a Solihull resident said: “On average, a drill is used for a total of 12 minutes a year. The rest of the time, it’s taking up space in a home or garage and gathering dust. By lending it out to people in the local area, the owner of the drill can make a bit of money, while feeling like they’re actually contributing to their local community. In the past couple of weeks, our borrowers have saved over £1,300 and in the process, over 300kg of CO2 has also been saved.
“There are so many instances when people don’t actually want or need to buy a household item outright, especially if they know their use of it will be very occasional. Regardless of the cost of the item, the space it takes up while sitting idle is a key factor for many people, especially for those living in apartments and homes without garages. In practice, borrowing an item also means you can get guidance on how to use it. In today’s digital world, Borroclub enables people to engage with their community in a practical, helpful and mutually beneficial way.”
The sharing/circular economy is a movement that is being championed by high profile figureheads such as Dame Ellen MacArthur. A recent report by PwC stated the sharing economy is worth £9bn globally, anticipated to rise to £230bn by 2025, of which the UK will account for £9bn.
Items featured on Borroclub include a sewing machine that would cost £52 to buy, but can be loaned for £5 per day, a jet washer and a hedger trimmer, both with original values of £130, but can be rented for £5 per day. A roof box with an original value of £270 can be loaned for only £2 per day, while a tent with a value of £600 can be borrowed for £5 per day. Other popular items include folding beds, pet carry cages, life jackets, an air compressor and lawn scarifier.
Borroclub is enrolled on Innovation Birmingham’s Entrepreneurs for the Future programme, which provides business incubation to tech start-ups. The benefits include up to nine months free office space, telecoms, meeting rooms and superfast broadband. In addition, there is continued mentoring from the Entrepreneurs in Residence, regular visiting expert sessions, a series of workshops and events, networking opportunities and peer-to-peer support. All of this support comes for free; Innovation Birmingham does not take an equity stake in the start-up businesses, as enrolment onto the Entrepreneurs for the Future programme is part-funded by an ERDF grant.