70. Fat Lama

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  • Julia Watts

Founders: Chaz Englander, Rosie Dallas and Owen Turner-Major
Founded: November 2016
Website: fatlama.com

When Chaz Englander, Rosie Dallas and Owen Turner-Major were tasked with refurbishing an office space in 2015, they found they needed all sorts of equipment that they didn’t have – from ladders to vacuums to tiling tools.

With equipment hire shops proving too expensive, too niche or too inconvenient, the trio wasted £5,000 buying items they only needed to use for a few hours. This was frustrating – especially when they knew other people in the office building would no doubt have the same items lying around.

From this frustration came their solution: Fat Lama.

Launched in 2016, Fat Lama is a peer-to-peer platform through which members can rent out their unused possessions – anything from professional camera equipment and musical instruments to campervans, drones, VR consoles and more.

With its users at the forefront, Fat Lama doesn’t charge to list items on the site, instead it takes a 15% service fee when an item is borrowed. Furthermore, possessions are insured up to the value of £25,000, encouraging the peace of mind necessary for a successful rental.

It’s an offering that has certainly struck a chord with the public. Fat Lama is operational throughout the UK, with over 60,000 users in London alone.

At the start of 2018, the platform launched in New York – and was inundated with interest, with more than 1,300 items listed in its first 48 hours stateside.

Now with 20 team members, the start-up has attracted $3.1m in seed funding and plans to launch in more US cities.

As for the more distant future, Englander, Dallas and Turner-Major say the fact that users can rent anything at all, from kayaks to prams, is the “game-changer” that will make the company go far, and “means the model has the potential to be the biggest business in the world”.

With such early traction under its belt, we expect to be hearing a lot more from Fat Lama in the coming year.

Julia Watts

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