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Business administration senior Shubh Khandhadia is connecting people to outdoor rental shops with his startup Venture Rent.
Venture Rent is a platform on which people looking to plan their next outdoor experience can find local rental shops. Users input their location and their outdoor experience of choice, and Venture Rent provides a list of relevant rental shops, along with a description of each shop, photos and reviews. Users can then select a shop and book their rental through Venture Rent.
“Our goal is to make it as easy and convenient as possible,” Khandhadia said. “If you’re going to a new place or planning a vacation, we want you to be able to book your outdoor experience in a minute or less.”
The platform is starting with watersports, connecting users to shops that offer products like kayaks, surfboards and fishing boats for rent. Khandhadia said he plans to eventually expand to also include other outdoor activities, like hiking and backpacking.
Venture Rent began as a peer-to-peer platform for renting surfboards, an idea which originated at Cal Poly Entrepreneurs Startup Marathon, a 54-hour long event at which student innovators work through the weekend to develop a startup idea.
Following Startup Marathon, Khandhadia brought the idea to the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) Hatchery, an on-campus program designed to help Cal Poly students develop their startup ideas. Khandhadia began to utilize the Hatchery’s resources to start building his business.
He also enrolled in Introduction to Entrepreneurship (BUS 310), a course taught by the CIE’s Direction of Student Innovation Programs Jose Huitron, which introduces students to the startup process. Khandhadia learned about customer development, product development and the processes behind Minimum Viable Product (MVP) testing.
Khandhadia continued to develop Venture Rent eventually pivoting to become a business-to-consumer platform — rather than act as a platform for people to rent out their own outdoor equipment, Venture Rent would connect people to “mom and pop rental shops.”
He also applied to the CIE’s Summer Accelerator, an intensive, 13-week program that provides Cal Poly students and recent graduates with the resources needed in order to turn their startup ideas into real, scalable businesses.
Khandhadia applied to the program hoping to “be able to get the practice and learn what it takes to be an entrepreneur from people who have done it and were successful,” he said.
Venture Rent was one of seven teams accepted to the program. Since the start of the summer, Khandhadia has been leveraging resources provided by the Accelerator, including $10,000 in funding, office space in downtown San Luis Obispo and opportunities to learn from experienced entrepreneurs.
“All the speakers that come through the program and the mentors who have experience building products, they give feedback and advice, and that’s all really beneficial,” Khandhadia said.
Venture Rent’s MVP is nearing completion, after which beta testing will begin.
There are currently six rental shops who have agreed to be featured on Venture Rent, five of which are located in Orange County and one of which is local to San Luis Obispo. Khandhadia said he hopes to expand to include more rental shops throughout the summer.
He also said he wants Venture Rent to eventually be “the all in one store for outdoor experiences.”
“Whenever you’re planning a trip, wherever you’re going, we want to be the place that you go to when you’re looking to have an outdoor experience,” he said.
Khandhadia, along with the rest of the 2022 Summer Accelerator cohort, will pitch his startup and showcase the progress he made throughout the summer at Demo Day, on Sept. 13 at 4 p.m. at SLO Brew Rock. In-person and virtual tickets are available here.