Rentecarlo: Jacob Aleksander
The start-ups founder discusses tapping into the UK's sharing economy and why they chose to launch in London over their native Copenhagen
Name: Jacob Aleksander
Company name: Rentecarlo
Location: Greater London
Date launched: 21/05/15
Tell us what your business does:
Rentecarlo is a car rental marketplace that enables car owners to make money on their car’s inactivity while providing car renters with a more convenient and accessible rental experience.
The idea works by creating an online community, where car owners can share their cars at their own hourly rates and schedules, and other users can hire these cars. With Rentecarlo you will be able to hire any car, anywhere, and at anytime via your smartphone.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
The idea for the business came from renting an apartment through Airbnb. We saw a lot of potential for both car owners and renters. Car owners are able to make a lot of money, while renters have easy access to a great selection of cars – right now we have anything from a Fiat 500 Pop to a Maserati GranTurismo.
How did you know there was a market for it?
We pulled together a landing page back in Denmark for four different countries and saw a lot of interest from London without putting any money into it. We saw that there weren’t any real competitors and so we quickly knew that it could potentially be a very interesting market for us.
What were you doing before starting up?
Two of the founders were finishing their Master’s studies at Copenhagen Business School, while the third was working full-time at Stupid Studio in Copenhagen. When we were accepted to Ignite, we saw this as a final proof of concept, so we decided to pursue it full-time so we relocated and launched to the UK.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
We have always had a sense for entrepreneurship and a strong interest in technology, so having our own tech business was always the dream.
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How did you raise the money?
We received funding through Ignite and raised a small angel round at winter, which got us up and running in London.
Describe your business model and how you make money:
We make money by taking a commission on every rental, similar to other marketplace platforms.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
The biggest challenge was securing a partnership with an insurance company. This was a prerequisite for us to open up the website and remains the highest barrier for entry into the market.
What was your first big breakthrough?
The first rental, which happened rather out of the blue on a member’s Audi TTS.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Try to stay motivated, it’s not an easy journey!
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
In five years time, we aim to be present in most major cities across Europe.