More South Africans opt for phone rentals

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 24 Nov 2022
Rentoza grew from a staff of four to now almost 70 employees.
Rentoza grew from a staff of four to now almost 70 employees.

Rentoza, an on-demand subscription-based online platform for electronics and appliances, is seeing huge demand from South Africans.

It says more people are opting for a pay-as-you-use payment model for renting electronic products, rather than traditional ownership.

The start-up notes it reached 13 000 customer subscriptions over the last four years, and recently opened a store at the Mall of Africa.

Established in 2017, Rentoza says it is on a mission to disrupt traditional ownership of electronics, home appliances and baby goods for South African consumers, with a subscription model that offers customers flexible payment terms for the rental of products at affordable rates.

The web and mobile platform makes use of the same subscription model used by Netflix, Apple Music and Microsoft – allowing consumers to pay a recurring fee to access products they would not normally be able to afford, for a fraction of the cost, on a month-on-month basis.

Products on offer include the latest mobile devices, tablets and laptops, and household appliances such as fridges, microwaves, washing machines and vacuums. In the baby goods vertical, the platform offers chairs, car seats and baby monitors, among other items.

Mishaan Ratan, co-founder and CMO of Rentoza, tells ITWeb that the subscription-based pay-as-you-use system is gaining ground locally, as consumers see the value of flexible payment options, given SA’s tough economic climate.

“Rentoza provides an unmatched access point for the latest technologies in the market. We provide an access model and a pay-as-you-use system with no long-term or short-term commitment at all. This allows customers to pay for what they need and then return it when they don’t need the item any longer.

“We've been growing by around 35% month-on-month for the last 20 months, and annually we grew about 400% year-on-year in terms of total revenue from subscriptions.

“People gravitate towards this model because it’s really a new access model for all the essential items they require. People are now seeing they can manage their products and lifestyle very differently, with a model such as ours which allows them flexibility,”he explains.

Rentoza grew from a staff of four people during inception, to now having almost 70 employees. It presently brings in annual revenue of over R30 million, with the most popular products being mobile devices, addsRatan.

To circumvent risks such as theft or non-payment, the company is able to lock the device so that it can’t be used. In instances of loss or damaged products, all items are covered by insurance.

In June, the start-up announced a R20 million funding deal with black-owned investment firm Mineworkers Investment Company. The funds were used to broaden Rentoza’s reach throughout the country and unlock the opportunities inherent in its potential, he continues.

Discussing the company’s recent move to open a store at the Mall of Africa, Ratan points out: “We believe South Africans intrinsically are still very wary of e-commerce, even though it’s growing. We are 100% safe but there is still apprehension.

“Our big move into a store is driven by the fact that we want to build trust with the public, and having the ability to interact face-to-face to drive awareness and actually educate consumers is a huge advantage that can never be underestimated.”