A lending site where you can rent anything from tampons to expensive drones and cameras just scored millions in venture capital

Fat Lama

  • Fat Lama, a lending site that lets users rent and lease goods, just raised $US10 million for its Series A.
  • The site, which kicked off in the UK two years ago, recently launched its first stateside offering in New York.
  • While Fat Lama typically offers equipment like drones, printers, and cameras, some more curious items sometimes crop up within the marketplace as well.

The sharing economy is redefining everything from how we commute to how we vacation, and now, if the CEO of lending site Fat Lama has his way, it might transform the way we consume products.

Fat Lama lets users borrow everything from drones to camera equipment to printers. CEO Chaz Englander says that the primary users of the marketplace – which got its name because “lamas are awesome” – are creative millennials who are either hoping to make money off of idle gear, or attempting to snag pricey equipment on the cheap.

Beyond the usual offerings, Fat Lama also has some other curious items up for rent as well. For instance, this box of tampons can be leased for $US5 a day, or a colourful knitted child’s poncho ($US8 per day).

TamponsFat Lama

Englander said that items that aren’t listed with serious intent are typically pulled from the site, but that enthusiastic users often have a habit of listing all of the items in their house once they set up an account.

This way of using the site has been particularly apparent within New York, said Englander, where the company launched its first stateside offering two months ago.

“In New York, someone will hear about the platform, and they will come on and list everything in their house,” said Englander. “In the UK, where we first launched, people will list one or two items and see what happens, then get a couple of rentals. Then, several few weeks later, they will list everything in their entire house.”

Englander said that he was amazed by how quickly the lending site had caught on in the US, and attributed this to the already well-established sharing economy within the states.

“People in the US are used to monetizing their cars and their houses,” said Englander. “Uber and Airbnb both took off in the US first, so the concept of sharing your property is already really ingrained there.”

Englander believes that his site has the potential to disrupt the way people buy goods. In the future, Englander said, people will opt to rent out not only expensive equipment but cheaper items for short-term use instead of purchasing it.

Fat Lama, which announced $US10 million in its Series A on Wednesday in a round led by Blossom Capital, says it will use its latest funding to further its reach within the US and to create a mobile-first offering (so far, the site’s mobile app is only available in the UK).

Englander said that Fat Lama sets itself apart from other gear and home goods rental offerings because of its generous insurance policy. The site insures any item listed on its site for up to $US30,000, and Englander said his company has plans to raise that amount to $US50,000 in the near future.

As for those tampons? “In theory, yes, the tampons are insured,” said Englander.

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