If you think of it like Airbnb, only not for your house but for all your stuff, that pretty much sums up Ottawa-based sharing platform Ruckify.
Picking up on the popularity of the sharing economy, the platform started roughly two years ago with the aim to rent or 'borrow' just about anything, which now will soon include an RV; Last month Ruckify acquired the RV sharing platform ‘Wheel Estate,’ which allows people to pay to use underutilized camping vehicles.
In an interview with OttawaMatters.com, Steve Cody said the move to acquire the asset is in line with the company’s vision and growth, as he said the RV sharing market is growing fast, as some of the bigger company’s in the market grew at a rate of about 500 per cent last year.
“That’s massive, massive growth, so what you’re getting is consumer acceptance and understanding with this business model,” he said.
“In Canada, there’s over 2-million RV’s and utilization is four per cent,“ he added, pointing out it’s a business opportunity but also one to help the environment.
“There’s all this stuff you need to dig out of the earth to build this RV, so if we can get people sharing them, get that utilization up to 20 per cent, that means about 5 less RV’s on the road, possibly.”
He said sharing economy could also be critical to the future of the environment, with the company’s other goal other than profit is to be one of the top five in the world in terms of environmental impact.
With those lofty visions in mind, Ruckify continues to grow beyond Ottawa, now running in Austin, Calgary, Nashville and Ottawa with more launches expected in more cities across the continent by the end of this year. The goal is to be in 50 North American cities by the end of the year.
Ruckify is also hoping to be on the NASDAQ by next fall, with the goal of raising more capital and to use the stock market launch as a marketing platform to get the message out.
Following other successful startup models, Cody believes once they can get consumers to change their behaviours, the possibilities are endless, which is also why the company has stuck to mid-size cities before moving into huge markets.
Once we’re able to do that and start to educate to change behaviour, then it will become a little more efficient and less costly to go into the big cities.
“We get a lot of bookings in Toronto and the big cities right now, but we don’t focus on them,” he said.
Cody himself is a serial entrepreneur who dropped out of school in Grade 10, but has managed to go from his own window washing company, to owning a party supply chain and several rental firms that have culminated in Ruckify, which also includes a software company. There's also many in between.
For those looking to start their own business or continue their entrepreneurial adventures, Cody offers the advice of patience and knowing your goals.
“First off, what do you want the outcome to be?” he said, be it a software company or social media company like Facebook or different lifestyle businesses, which once decided will allow you to know what business is best and what effort you’re willing to put in.
“Because being an entrepreneur can be really, really hard, you have to be a person who can’t give up. Some people say ‘failure is cool or a badge of honour,’ but that’s all kind of crap I think. I think if you know what the expectation is from the onset, then you can kind of move along accordingly."