MBA students from the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business released Gear2Go, a community platform that allows users to rent objects from their peers.
The peer-to-peer rental marketplace allows users to list objects on the website, set their prices and the length of the lease and rent to other users, according to the Gear2Go website. The site, which is currently in its beta version, offers lower prices than retail lenders, said Fernando Lora, a Haas MBA candidate and a member of the Gear2Go team.
“People are able to rent out items that they want to share with the community, and people are able to borrow these items from their neighbors,” Lora said. “It’s our way of building community, creating a more sustainable environment and making items more accessible.”
The site, which was released in May, is currently available only to Haas students, Lora said. During this time, 160 users have signed up, and the platform, which currently lists 150 items, has facilitated 30 transactions.
It is set to be released to the broader campus community in June, according to Lora. The long-term goal of the company is to expand to the city and subsequently the Bay Area at large.
For now, the company emphasized the advantage of renting from people users know personally.
“We believe that it’s going to be much easier to rent out an item from one of your neighbors as opposed to having to go to a retailer,” Lora said. “Going through that process, we’re going to make it easier for you, and we’re also going to make it cheaper and more affordable.”
Lenders know how much their customers are willing to pay, and renters are more careful to avoid damaging goods that belong to people they know and interact with, Lora said.
The company currently offers lenders the full value of the object should a renter break it. It plans to partner with insurance companies in the future, Lora added.
“Gear2Go was a lifesaver for my camping trip this weekend,” said Erica Soultanian, a user of the program, in a testimonial to the company. “I was able to quickly rent a tent and sleeping pad and the whole experience was super easy.”