Bäro – the face of the sharing economy

(Hannah Salwen, Bäro co-founder)

(Hannah Salwen, Bäro co-founder)

In 2013, The Economist said the “core of the sharing economy is people renting things from each other.”  A new startup, Bäro, is making that a reality – in real time.

Bäro began as a peer-to-peer sharing site. People could rent their items to each other with on-demand delivery. After some time though, the company realized that people were unreliable – harder to contact and therefore harder to arrange instant delivery. “All of our supply is now coming from small businesses and not from people because we know the items will always be available and the quality will be high,” said Hannah Salwen, a co-founder of Bäro.

Sometimes, it takes one failed attempt to find something better, said Salwen. Now, Bäro has a wide variety of items, mostly high-tech devices, so that people can rent them as needed.

It’s a simple process. Users log on to the site, choose the item they want (anything from a DSLR camera to a drone to a 3-D printer), and pay a daily rental fee. “We can now ensure delivery to Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens in under an hour!” said Salwen.

The company has started to catch on among people who want to use high-quality devices without having to pay the full price. “With absolutely no marketing, we have about 500 users – 30% of those users have completed a transaction,” said Salwen. There is still a lot of room of growth as Bäro tries to get more business partners on board to supply inventory. Currently, the company is only focused on the New York area.

The on-demand service is a key point as well. “We’re currently developing an app which will allow our users to easily get what they want when they want it,” said Salwen. “We will slowly be releasing new items every week on our app that people will be able to receive within the hour, but we first need to keep figuring out which items are best to offer.”

The close-to-instant delivery is what makes Bäro so unique. You don’t have to plan out your electronics needs a week ahead of time. If you suddenly need a good camera or want a Fitbit for your next run, you can log on to Bäro and get one right away for just a few dollars.

The biggest challenge, said Salwen, is figuring out what people want to rent. So far, Bäro has mostly high-tech items, but the company would like to go further. “Our long term plan is to expand past high-tech items and into other categories, making everything available on-demand,” she said.
Salwen’s experience has taught her to persevere, even when it seems like you failed. “If your first, second, and third idea don’t work, try number four,” she said.