Lumoid – Radio Rentals for the Ultra HD generation

lumoid logoThere is a certain thrill when you buy a new gadget but, all too soon, your prized bit of tech is either obsolete or, like the toastie makers and Soda Streams of old, banished to a cupboard never to be used again. Lumoid thinks there’s a better way: Stop buying your gadgets. Rent them.

The San Francisco startup hopes to do for electronics what Zipcar has done for car ownership, Spotify and Pandora have done for music and Airbnb has done for holiday homes – replace ownership with access. I’m guessing nobody here remembers Radio Rentals?

At the moment Lumoid rents out digital cameras and the associated kit. That’s everything from quality snappers such as the Sony A7 to GoPro action cameras and Canon lenses.

If you were to go out and buy this stuff you’d be spending hundreds, or maybe thousands, to get the latest and greatest – or you could rent them for $8 to $18 a day plus shipping.

This is also a great way to try before you decide to buy and should you fall in love with what you’re using Lumoid credits 30% of your rental cost for the past year toward the purchase price.

Just because it’s starting with camera gear it doesn’t mean that’s all Lumoid founder, Aarthi Ramamurthy, has planned. She’s looking to introduce a whole new way of doing business. Lumoid sees itself eventually moving beyond cameras to other digital devices, like wearables, gaming systems and 3-D printers.

lumoid teamZachary Genteman and Ramamurthy launched Lumoid in January after a three-month beta. In addition to its own inventory, Lumoid also draws on equipment from second-hand camera stores and splits the revenue. That arrangement makes the startup, nominally at least, part of the vaunted sharing economy. The company is also staying connected to its crowdfunding roots; Lumoid has also begun to sell some relevant Kickstarter accessories on its check-out page, again as part of a revenue sharing deal.

Could this be a way of enjoying the pricier end of the gadget spectrum? Imagine getting your friends around to watch the World Cup final on a huge 4K TV you can’t really afford.

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