Today marks the launch of Australian start-up PocketDolla, an online marketplace that enables Australian communities to lend or rent spare items including camping and sports equipment, cameras, DJ sets and more.
Lenders can post their items on the website, choosing from a wide range of categories and setting their own price and availability. Renters can search for items they need and make a request to book. Once accepted, the renter makes a secure payment using online payment system Stripe, which is received by the lender once the rental is marked as complete.
PocketDolla aims to address a significant gap in the Australian sharing economy, in which more than two thirds of the population now participate, by connecting a community who can either earn by sharing their stuff or save by sharing someone else’s.
The company has been started by friends Emma Hickley and Scott Ferguson, who moved to Sydney from the UK in 2017 and found themselves spending a huge amount of money on single-use items to help them get settled and explore the wonders Australia has to offer.
“More than 600,000 people move into or around Australia every year,” said Emma Hickley, co-founder, PocketDolla. “Many arrive with little to nothing and don’t know how long their stay will be. This can lead to difficult and expensive decisions on what to invest in, and while there is a strong resale market here, there are few inexpensive avenues for people who need single or seldom-use items.
“The flipside is that many of us have valuable items we barely use. Take camping for example – investing in a full suite of high-end camping equipment could cost thousands, but many people already have this lying around for most of the year. PocketDolla can help these items gather money rather than dust and reducing costs for people trying out new activities or settling into a new home.”
PocketDolla believes the ‘waste less, share more’ nature of the platform will reduce the level of waste being created in Australia. According to the National Waste Report 2018, the country generated 67 million tonnes (Mt) in 2016-17, equivalent to 2.7 tonnes per person.
“Our habit of buying what we don’t need or investing in activities we don’t commit to too often ends up with a trip to the tip,” added Scott Ferguson, PocketDolla. “As people become more environmentally conscious, we see a huge opportunity for the community to come together and reduce their carbon footprint while saving cash or earning some on the side.”
The platform has been trialled across New South Wales since November 2018 and is now fully operational across Australia. The company hopes to expand internationally as users and demand increase.