The Internet makes it easy to rent books, movies, high fashion, kid stuff and pretty much anything. But most iPad rental services don't rent to individuals. Unless you own a business, it's still easier to rent a speedboat than an iPad.
Flying Connected, an electronics rental site that launched in New York City last month, aims to make it easy for individuals to rent electronic companions for their trips.
Rental prices on the site vary depending on the renters' choice of insurance package, accessories and pre-loaded media. The company's most popular item, the iPad 2, can be rented for $18 to $28 per day. For a small fee, it will deliver a device to an airport or hotel in New York City.
Founder Zalmy Raskin says that he's targeting travelers for a couple of reasons. First, traveling with mobile electronics that require a data plan, like a smartphone or an iPad when it's not connected to the Internet, is a pain.
"Even if you have it with you, there’s always the frustration of when you turn it on you can’t using without roaming charges," says Raskin, who moved to New York from London a few years ago. "You’re on payphones. It’s frustrating."
Raskin thinks that domestic travelers might also find use for his service -- whether they'd like to take a new device for a trial whirl, avoid lugging a laptop on a business trip, or view movies and other media on the plane.
The just-launched startup's clientele is still small in both the national and international travel departments, but it hopes to partner with car rental companies and smaller hotel chains to grow its user base by offering a discount to their customers.
If the concept takes off, building a customer base through these partners could prove less of an issue than keeping up with one. Maintaining an inventory of expensive electronics won't be cheap, and the startup is bootstrapping its efforts.
Raskin has devised a plan that he hopes will help it keep up. Anyone who agrees to lend their device to the company for a period can keep a percentage from rentals and keep their device after the deal ends.
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