Renting a bike, skis, snowboard, boat, etc. while on vacation has never been more simple, but there continues to be a lot of room for improvement in this area. Searching for a bike or snowboard in a country like Italy is fairly simple and you can find plenty of options, but most services exclusively focus on one or another form of transportation. Trento-based Upendu believes that they can shake up this market by offering a place for finding local rental shops for a variety of hobbies.They report 200 beta-testers, but the service is still quite limited and you cannot yet rent online.
When creating a startup, it helps if the founders have a passion for the product or service itself. CEO Lucia Rampanti, who founded the business with Francesco Corazza and Andrea Pollio, tells us that they created the business because they are winter-sports enthusiasts themselves and found that their needs were not being met. They experienced issues with renting their own equipment, so they decided to go ahead and build their own business. At present, they are participating in the TechPeaks acceleration program.
The startup is currently focused on a handful of locations in northern Italy. Visiting their site, you are offered the option of clicking on a location. From there, you can filter shops by the services that they offer and users will eventually be able to rent through the site.
The holidays are not too far off and Rampati says that the next steps for the business is to simultaneously continue development of their iOS app, while continuing marketing efforts. She cites TriVaGo (price-comparison service for hotels) and Skyscanner (similar service for flights) as model for the rental-marketplace that they are aiming to become.
They do not have investors, but won an entrepreneurial scholarship last year and are aiming to impress at the accelerator’s Demo Day in a couple of weeks. The service is free for end-users and Rampati tells us that they believe that the best option for raising revenue will be to develop affiliate partnerships with existing online-booking platforms.