Charleston Company Aspires To Be The Airbnb Of Equipment
Dukana’s App For Mobile Devices Creates Rental Communities
How often do you golf?
The above question seems like an odd way of beginning a review about a startup company’s technology, but many Americans’ answers are part of the core of the Charleston, S.C.-based company’s business plan.
If your answer was something like ‘hardly ever,’ you could be a prospective customer of Dukana’s app software for mobile devices that connects people who want to save money and people who want to make money. If you only play golf a few, or even several, times a year, do you really want to pay at least several hundred dollars for golf clubs? If not, do you really want to buy cheap, substandard clubs that will embarrass you on the golf course and add several strokes to your score?
Golf course managers know that renting is the answer — and that’s why they charge a lot of money. In his sales pitch on YouTube about his company, Dukana Founder Bobby Wann reports that Pinehurst Resort, a golf resort in North Carolina with nine golf courses, rents a set of golf clubs for $100. That’s $100 for one day of golf.
If you use Dukana’s app, Wann said, you could find someone who owns golf clubs and wants to make a little money. Wann said Dukana users can rent golf clubs for $20 — an $80 savings EVERY time you golf. He added that you could also save considerable money if you rented other property that you almost never needed. Thus, you could save a lot of money by renting a lawn mower a few times a year, renting tools for an occasional home construction project, renting skis for a one-week vacation, renting_______. Well, you get the idea.
“We thought it would be awesome if we could rent absolutely everything,” Wann said on the video. “You save money doing the things you love.”
U.S. Culture Has Changed
Historically, people could certainly rent golf clubs, lawnmowers, and virtually any other kind of property from people rather than businesses. In recent years, though, finding a product you want to borrow and finding people who want to borrow your property has become considerably easier thanks to online communication and online forums such as Craigslist.
Dukana wants to take renting property to the next level by creating rental communities whose members interact with each other as friends or acquaintances rather than periodically search for a rental partner from scratch whenever they want to borrow or lend their property. In the video, Wann talked about how the rental market has grown, partly because more people, particularly young adults, are more financially pinched than they used to be and partly because more people are comfortable with renting property. Dukana’s website details Wann’s beliefs.
“Ever since the creation of Uber and Airbnb, it is our belief that people are becoming increasingly more comfortable with dealing with strangers in order to cut costs,” the website says. “Not only that, there is strong evidence that these companies are thriving because of the social atmosphere created by their platforms. In our opinion, these apps are bringing people together again and creating a sense of community between strangers.”
In the video, Wann explicitly compares Dukana to Airbnb, which facilitates the rental of homes and apartments, and implies that he believes that his company can become the Airbnb of equipment. Dukana’s plan is to let people choose the online ‘communities’ they want to belong to via the company’s app and communicate with people in their communities when they are seeking to rent sports equipment, construction tools, moving equipment, and other equipment.
The financial transactions are consummated via Dukana’s app. When a transaction is complete, Dukana collects 20 percent of the price. Thus, the company receives $4 on a $20 transaction to rent golf clubs. He was not specific about how much each of the two parties is responsible for paying. Wann said that Dukana’s app also handles purchases, but he envisions the overwhelming majority of the company’s revenues coming from rentals.
Groups such as church groups, other community groups, and companies can also join the rental communities. This is a smart way to maximize the customer base and profits.
Will Dukana succeed? That depends on the competition and the quality of the product. When you seek to find other companies that have online rental communities, you find a lot of companies that have designed apps for people who are seeking to rent apartments and homes to live in and/or stay in during a vacation, but no companies that focus on equipment. When you look at the opportunities for renting property on Craigslist, you find that almost all of the ads are for residences. There are party and event rentals, but few opportunities to rent equipment.
The competition seems weak. Thus, product is everything. Unfortunately, efforts to find a review of Dukana’s product were unsuccessful. The company’s website does have three testimonials, but it needs much more. In fact, the website needs far more information on how the product works. The website is rather barebones.
The company’s best information is on CrunchBase, a database of startups. Dukana’s profile on the CrunchBase website details what software the product uses and what payment collection app is used, but the information on how much Dukana receives from customers differs from what Wann presented on the video.
Dukana’s idea of helping people save considerable time and money on renting equipment rather than going to the store to buy something they will rarely use is an excellent one, but the company needs to do a better job of proving that its app delivers on the promise of its excellent idea.