It's now a little over four years since with Toomas and Joel we decided to start tackling what in our opinion was one of the largest problems preventing a world of more sustainable commerce. The problem of merchants lacking appropriate software to start, manage and grow circular business models.
Yes - in our opinion the root problem in the adoption of sustainable commerce was not selfish consumers or merchants. It was how poorly both of those groups were served by technology companies and the resulting lackluster consumer experience. The majority of existing commerce platforms and software applications were, and are still to this date designed and optimized for linear commerce. Solutions that do not scale to the needs of circular inventories.
In 2018, we saw first-handed how much unnecessary friction there was in starting and running e.g. a rental operation with then existing commerce solutions. A belief that has since grown increasingly stronger by the learnings from the thousands of merchants who have signed up to build their stores on top of Rentle and served hundreds of thousands of consumers across the globe via our platform.
Gladly, the future does not have to be one, where we drown in stuff overflowing from our closets, garages, and storage units. Studies have already shown that going forward consumers expect to own less and instead subscribe to a diverse range of services to access goods. As consumers get access to a wider range of better quality goods at a lower price point, merchants get to enjoy a new revenue stream with better gross margins.
It’s the opposite of planned obsolescence. It’s not about mass manufacturing. It’s about crafting durable, sustainable things that serve many during their lifecycle. It means abandoning the throwaway culture. Not generating more junk. Not adding to the sea of flotsam that’s been growing in the Pacific Ocean for the past 75 years and is currently twice the size of Texas. It is about making durable goods durable again. This makes sense commercially, as the more durable a good is, the easier it is to repair and the more revenue can be made with it. It is where capitalism meets sustainability.
It is this vision for the future we started building towards and serving four years ago. The mission of offering a commerce platform that makes circular commerce easier and more profitable than its linear counterpart. Stopping the world from drowning in stuff, by helping merchants make more profits with servitized circular inventories.
As a company, we are now entering the next chapter. Backed by investors sharing a vision of a better world, I am happy to announce our seed round of 3.8 million euros. An important milestone that will help us meet the increasing demand, and serve our current and future merchants even better. To enable them to start and grow their circular businesses the way they want. To make the more profitable and sustainable business models of circular economy frictionless and easier than linear commerce.
I want to take this moment, and thank all the forerunner merchants we have the privilege to call customers and the amazing talent we have at Rentle! Let's keep making the world of commerce more sustainable - with an increasing speed as the world has no time to wait!
Investors in Rentle's seed round include leading financial services and sustainability investors Tera Ventures, Anthemis, Maki.vc, Finnish Industry Investment, Mission One Capital, The Fund, StartupIst Ventures as well as a number of European and US family offices and angel investors.