Fat Llama is an innovative peer-to-peer rental marketplace which connects people who want to rent stuff, with people who will pay to borrow the stuff. Touted as the “Airbnb of stuff”, this company is helping people get the most out of the items they own by giving them the opportunity to lend it out and make some money in the process.
The London-based company’s success comes on the back of its ability to deal with the biggest barriers to lending – lack of trust and the fear that goods will get damaged or broken or are simply not returned. By creating an Airbnb-like platform that makes borrowers and lenders accountable to each other, and offering £25,000 insurance for each rental item (thanks to their insurance underwriters XL Catlin), the business has brought peace of mind to all parties. Some lenders on the platform are doing so well in fact, that they’re earning up to $10,000 per month renting out items such as film equipment and bicycles.
Hackney-based filmmaker Tom Bryan credits Fat Llama for his ability to pay his studio rent. He rents out photography gear that he says would otherwise be sitting in the studio gathering dust. “I earn enough lending my gear each month to cover the rent of my shared office space. It’s nice to know I can cover that expense. At the moment, as I focus on my own projects, I am earning less from corporate work, so this extra income from kit hire is helping me sustain a lifestyle where I can spend more time on my own projects – which is where my heart lies,” he shares.
Categories seeing the most rental interest on the online rental platform include film and photography, campervans and motorhomes, drones, video projectors and bikes. This makes sense. Assets in these categories are, for most people, cost-prohibitive to purchase outright.
Lenders may be grinning but so too are borrowers, who get the chance to rent items on a needs-basis – rather than buy an expensive item that they’ll unlikely use again or at best, use infrequently. Fat Llama helps people access expensive goods at low-cost – goods that would otherwise be out of reach. Furthermore, renters can rent with just a debit card and no cash deposit is required.
Then there are the positive environmental factors that come from using the rental platform. By assisting community members to rent rather than buy, Fat Llama discourages a throwaway culture. It also encourages members towards a more sustainable lifestyle by helping them to reduce waste, minimise household clutter and ensure they get maximum use from the stuff they own. Naturally, its young people who’ve been most attracted to using the site, motivated by saving money and their green values.
It has also become a popular destination for freelancers who are able to make money off of their equipment, borrow and connect with other freelancers and has even been a source of discovering freelance job opportunities for some.
Fat Llama has been great since it helps me monetize my gear, started with different rental sites and Fat Llama has kind of been the most versatile in terms of the types of equipment people are looking for.” – Adam Weinberg, Freelance Director of Photography, in a company interview.
Fat Llama launched in 2016 after its founders renovated a London office space and found themselves blowing almost a third of their budget on buying “single-use” items such as power tools and tile-cutters. Two years on and it has attracted 80,000 customers in the UK. In a “sharing economy” industry worth $250 million and expected to be worth $2 trillion, the concept has proven so irresistible it has been able to raise $13 million of funding from world-class investors including Blossom Capital, Atomico, Y Combinator and Greylock Partners to expand into the lucrative US market.
In April, the company launched in NYC and now has plans to launch in L.A. and San Francisco later this year. Hopefully, the platform takes off and becomes accessible to more members of the global community.
We love this concept so much that we’re helping Fat Llama grow their herd (lol). If you’re based in the UK or in the US, make sure to sign up using our special link here and you’ll get £25/$25 free credit to use when you borrow an item. And if you do, we get £25/$25 credit so that we can continue to bring cool eco news and products like this to people like you!
To learn more about Fat Llama, visit their website.