ITWeb TV: Rentoza looks to drive sharing economy in SA

Admire Moyo
By Admire Moyo, ITWeb's news editor.
Johannesburg, 08 Sept 2023

Local online subscription company Rentoza plans to propel the sharing economy in South Africa and expand beyond local borders.

This was revealed by Chris Govender, co-founder and COO of Rentoza, in an interview on ITWeb TV.

A sharing economy is a model in which goods and resources are shared by individuals and groups in a collaborative way, such that physical assets become services.

According to the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science, the sharing economy offers a multitude of opportunities for South Africa and other developing nations, to boost economic development and encourage job creation and micro-entrepreneurship.

Rentoza this week secured $6 million (R115 million) funding to expand its pay-as-you-use subscription model for renting electronic products beyond South African borders.

Chris Govender, co-founder and COO of Rentoza.
Chris Govender, co-founder and COO of Rentoza.

Govender says Rentoza started in ideation phase in 2017. “It was started by four friends that studied at university together. The premise on which it was founded was to solve the challenge around accessibility to products that we deem premium or essential goods.

“In 2019, we were part of an accelerator programme. This afforded us to get some seed capital to create a product, and this enabled us to transition the business from ideation to our first iteration, which was a rental marketplace.

“When the president locked down the entire country, we started leveraging the shared economy to market our product. We started receiving a high volume of enquiries from businesses looking for a flexible solution. That was our first transition to the journey to creating Rentoza as a subscription service for the South African consumer.

“We believe subscription is a means to access just about everything. We believe it should be the new way of consumption. Currently, we are operating in a few categories and the highest interest is in the consumer electronics segment – mobile devices, tablets, laptops, gaming consoles and appliances.”

In the last six to eight months, the company also introduced baby goods and fitness products, says Govender.

He notes that mobile devices make up the largest volume of sales. “I think it accounts for close to 60% of all our sales on a month-to-month basis.

“Drones fall under the consumer electronics category. However, drones pose a problem because not everyone is a maverick ‘Top Gun’ pilot. It is a vertical that we need to explore further. We have entry-level drones that speak to the mass market.”

Govender also tells ITWeb via e-mail: “We have a small set of drones on the platform that have great demand. What we will do is grow that product set by testing new drones and validating the uptake on an ongoing basis.”

He says that in the three years of Rentoza’s existence as a subscription model, it has grown from four founders and one employee, to 112 employees.

The company now has three offices in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. “We have also grown from zero subscriptions to 7 500 active subscriptions and around 16 000 subscriptions in totality, to date.”