Online rental service Zoef.com launched its brand new website last week. The Dutch startup was able to improve its platform and services after they had brought in an investment of 1,4 million euro last year. Zoef.com offers a platform on which you can rent party, catering, video and audio products. On its brand new website, Zoef describes itself as ‘the easiest’, ‘the smartest’, ‘the best’, and ‘the biggest’ in what they do. That’s quite a few bold claims to make, so we asked CEO Niels Duijvestijn how Zoef.com is going to live up to these statements.
Why a rental service?
The idea of Zoef.com did not come out of the blue. CEO Niels Duijvestijn has a background in commercial economics and business, and he already had quite some experience in running his own businesses. One of these was a small rental service for audio and video products. After three years, Duijvestijn decided to expand this business, and that is how Zoef.com came into being.
In the beginning, you can’t have it all
Zoef.com has gone through some changes lately. Duijvestijn: “In the last years, we had to rethink and adjust our business plan a lot, before getting to where we are now. The most important thing we did, was to put the focus on catering and events only. Idealistically, we want to be a platform where you can rent everything. But if we want to become that big, we must start small. Renting jet skis is something entirely different from renting barbecues.”
Auctioning to different partners
Besides bringing focus to its services, the startup works with an auction of products to different partners. When you rent a product on Zoef.com, the purchase is offered to several partners offering that product. The first one accepting it, gets the order. This is a way of making the ordering process run as fast and as smooth as possible. Zoef.com takes a commission ranging from 20% to 25% from each order.
How is Zoef.com different from other online rental services, such as the Dutch website huren.nl? Duijvestijn is offended by the comparison: “There is no similarity between us and huren.nl! All they do is direct you to websites where you can rent, but you still have to do everything yourself. On Zoef.com you rent through our website, and algorithms help you to get exactly what you need.” The algorithms save data that the customers fill out, such as location, date, and the product they want to rent. Based on this input, the matching products are shown and the algorithms create the best offer for the customer.
Zoef.com’s ambitions and challenges
So the plan is to start off small, and then grow bigger step by step. Duijvestijn imagines a future where eventually everyone will rent everything through Zoef.com worldwide. How is the startup planning to accomplish this? Duijvestijn: “I know it may sound ambitious, but what we are doing does not exist anywhere else yet. We are now building an ecosystem that brings together supply and demand in the online renting industry. The system will help us find out which are the best ways to expand.”