Unlease: a peer-to-peer marketplace for 1-4 rentals
1) How is Unlease changing the world?
It’s crazy to us that in today’s age of global mobility, the only way of renting is still on fixed 12-month contracts – nobody lives their life in 12-month increments yet this is how most of us are forced to rent. Milennials enjoy flexibility in every other area of their life – from work to gym contracts and even dating – apart from when it comes to renting. Renters are dying to have flexibility in the 21st Century and Unlease gives them that by allowing them to rent any place they like for the medium-term (1 to 4 months).
2) How did you come up with the idea of Unlease?
We all had this problem of 12-month contracts as students at Oxford. Every holiday we’d go back to London and our rooms in Oxford would stand empty. We would each lose about £2,000-£3,000 each year paying rent on an empty room. That was a monumental waste. So we decided to come up with a solution that would allow us to rent the rooms we weren’t using to interns, graduate students and young professionals who wanted somewhere to stay for a few months. That’s how the idea for Unlease was born.
3) What’s the most exciting and successful way you’ve acquired users?
For our launch in London we created an online platform that allowed people to send pineapples to their colleagues, friends and family. If you’re wondering “Why the pineapple?!” – pineapples are a symbol of hospitality and we’ve got one in our logo. Our aim was to help make London feel smaller and plus we thought it would give us a chance to get out of the office for a few hours. We probably weren’t prepared for how quickly this social experiment went viral because we received about 10,000 orders in 48 hours! Celebrities started tweeting it on social media and it got picked up by a couple of newspapers so it spread incredibly quickly. And our CEO ended up on the front cover of a magazine with a pineapple 3 weeks later!
4) What does the future have in store for Unlease?
We’re passionate about building a product that people love to use. Over the next few months we’re making major changes to the Unlease platform that will improve the renting experience by an order of magnitude. Watch this space!