RentAll, co-founded by Yash Daftary, Alexander Baikovitz and Brandon Dinner of American Heritage School, is a geo-localized, peer-to-peer mobile app and website that enables customers to rent items that they typically would not purchase because of the expense or limited use, like tents, kayaks or extra chairs for a party. RentAll took third place in the Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge High School Track, which drew 104 entries.
The success of on-demand peer-to-peer networks like Airbnb and Uber inspired their idea for RentAll, which also was a finalist in the statewide Future Business Leaders of America competition. The renter doesn’t have to buy a $250 tent, and the tent owner is making money from something that was just sitting in the house, said Yash, a junior who has developed other startups including Hercules Protein, a high-protein gum he is working on licensing.
“It goes even further,” added Alex, a senior who will attend Carnegie Mellon next year and study engineering. “It’s not just people renting stuff of their own, it’s people creating micro businesses. RentAll creates an outlet for these businesses to form by providing them a way to rent directly to their consumers.”
That inspired RentAll’s slogan: “Become a Backyard Billionaire.”
“Why it may be somewhat hyperbole, we believe it attracts a lot of attention,” said Brandon, a junior who launched his first company at age 12 and is also working on a hydroponics startup. Every venture is an important learning experience, he says.
RentAll (www.rentall.rent) was born in American Heritage’s Entrepreneurship Program. When Yash discovered there was no entrepreneurship program at the school, he started one, similar to one he launched in his freshman and sophomore years at his former school in New Jersey. He’s president of the group, Brandon is vice president, and there are 46 student members, including Alex. At the club, the students work on ideas with five mentors — a lawyer, an investment banker and three entrepreneurs from different industries. Seeing the success of the program’s first year, the school is considering adding a business track in addition to to its existing engineering and pre-med tracks, Yash said.
The RentAll team is working on its social-media marketing plan and plans to go into full development this summer. Yash and Alex, who attended an MIT summer program last year and has created a smart parking application and a medical technology product, are looking forward to tackling the tech challenge of developing the platform, perhaps working with a team offshore.
“What we plan to do is execute within the South Florida region and prove viability in that test market and scale it further by going for funding. With a Series A, we could go into bigger cities across the United States, and that widespread market share will help us against third-party competition that might be taking place,” Alex said. They see college students as a big market for them.
A key challenge will be time management, especially as Alex goes off to Carnegie Mellon and Yash and Brandon approach senior year, each with five Advanced Placement courses, college applications and tests, said their mentor and Yash’s father, Bhavik Daftary, who is a tech entrepreneur and investor.
“Focusing 80 hours a week on this business is going to be very hard. If they are able to find some investors to back them and use that money to hire the right people to help them run the company, that could solve some of the problems,” Bhavik Daftary said.
He has helped them accurately estimate what their business will look like, by understanding their expenses, their cost for selling their goods and their technology, and to project their revenue and profitability.
Daftary’s advice: “Leave the egos far, far away. Stay focused. Work hard, but work smart. You’ve got to be more than 1,000 percent committed. … Focus on your goals and create a road map.”
Sounds like this team is well on its way.
Read the full Miami Herald article here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/business-plan-challenge/article76411972.html