Describe the company – the elevator pitch …
BorrowFox is a high-end equipment sharing marketplace for creatives, such as photographers, freelancers and filmmakers. Our aim is to disrupt the equipment rental market by providing lower fees, more convenience, and more choice. BorrowFox aims to be the Airbnb of high-end equipment! We are building an exclusive community for our users to connect with each other and share equipment, saving money by avoiding expensive purchases and over-priced rental stores, and making money by lending idle gear.
How are you different?
One of the co-founders of BorrowFox, Ciaran, is head of Hiive.co.uk, which is a popular networking platform for creatives. This channel helped us recognize the challenges of astronomical equipment prices faced by filmmakers and photographers, and so we began researching the equipment rental industry. We realised that there was no straightforward way to view and compare all the available equipment across London, including kit offered by both large corporate suppliers,production houses and private owners. The market seemed to be suffering from inefficiencies and old-fashioned rental models… it was clearly an opportunity for an Airbnb-style disruption! And thus, BorrowFox was born!
We are therefore fortunate to be first-to-market with our business model. There are no rental platforms in Ireland or the United Kingdom that offer the best of film and photography equipment from both corporate rental companies and private owners. Our approach means that we are able to open up the market and offer the lowest prices, and maximum convenience, to our users.
Why will the company/product do well?
We commissioned market research and discovered the majority of photographers, freelancers and filmmakers regret owning equipment, overestimating how often it would be used. On the other hand, the prohibitively high prices of new equipment force many creatives into the rental market, which is currently dominated by inflated fees and poor service. The results indicated to that respondents were eager for a platform that simplifies the photography and film equipment rental market, offering broad price comparisons, peer-to-peer rentals, and a convenient booking and collection process.
Where are you based?
We have offices in Dublin and London.
When was the company launched?
BorrowFox Ltd. was incorporated in 2015. We then spent 18 months researching our market, designing and developing the online platform, and testing and refining it with our users. We launched in London in July 2017, and now stock a huge selection of amazing kit. BorrowFox will be launching in Dublin too later this year.
What have been your biggest wins to date?
Securing the initial suppliers on the platform was always going to be tricky, so seeing our first users upload their stock onto our site was big breakthrough for us. We are pleased to say that we now have over £3 million of incredible high-end kit on the platform, available for rent at any given moment!
What type of people (market segment) are you trying to attract to your product?
Our target market includes creative professionals of all shapes and sizes. We offer products that will meet the equipment needs of freelance photographers through to cinematic filmmakers. Our objective is simply to provide a wide variety of kit from corporate suppliers and private owners, and thereby meet the budget, technical and timing requirements of the users across the creative industry.
What tips would you give to others looking to build their business?
Give it a go! It will be a tough, but rewarding experience. The most crucial aspect of it is to not go in alone and to find like-minded co-founders. Also, remember to maintain outside interests and hobbies so you don’t implode from the hi-octane nature of starting a business – running and golfing have been my saviours!
Tell us about your team?
We are fortunate in that our team is a good mix of technical and business experience, which I think is essential for any start-up. I worked in the finance sector for several years in London. The experience offered me valuable insights into the commercial and practical challenges of growing a business; I also caught my first glimpses of the exhilarating ups and downs that go with founding a business. My co-founder, Ciaran, has spent a few years building the now very successful Hiive.co.uk, and his experience is crucial in growing BorrowFox’s userbase. Our other co-founder, Alastair, has experience in digital design and works on the technical/UX/UI aspects of the platform.
What are your long-term plans for your product/company?
In five years, we hope to have scaled the business internationally as a successful sister company to Hiive.co.uk, and built communities for creatives to rent equipment and collaborate on projects. We also plan on expanding into other verticals within the creative industry such as renting studios, spaces and set locations.
How do people get in touch with you?
We’d love to hear from anyone interested in our business, our products, the sharing economy, etc.! My email address is [email protected].