The Netflix of cell phones?
Eric Calisto in Logansport, Indiana is seeking to get funding through the Kickstarter community to launch “Phone Renter,” a service that allows users to pay a monthly fee to have access to an entire database of phones and be able to choose a quality phone, use it, tire of it and send it back for a new one.
All funds from Kickstarter will be used for development, marketing, and hiring and they say their phone database will be self-funded.
Kickstarter.com is “the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects,” wherein projects are posted to the site and anyone with a credit card can pledge money to fund the projects, but the twist is that a project must reach its funding goal before time runs out or no money changes hands because “creators aren’t expected to develop their project without necessary funds, and it allows anyone to test concepts without risk.” The site also allows project creators to keep 100 percent ownership over their work and offer products and incentives in return for pledges.
Pros and cons
The upside is that users could, theoretically enjoy the newest phones without enduring new contracts or being forced into being stuck with the same phone for two years. The startup says that “After a certain amount of time, the phones would be sold to end consumers, much like any other rental service would work as well (think Enterprise Rent-A-Car). We would have the revenue from monthly subscriptions + money that could be recovered from the sale of phones. Money will also be made through partnerships with app developers by allowing them to pay for their apps to show up on phones rented out to users.”
Phone Renter requires a credit card for activation of any phone which is how the company will penalize for damaged phones, and they are considering offering insurance on rented phones.
The only downside we see is the risk of privacy issues and the company will need to consider investing in a cloud option for hosting all private information, making phone swaps safer and easier, but it could potentially be an issue for consumers as news coverage about hacks are influencing consumers’ attitude toward data privacy, particularly on their phones.
The offerings to people who pledge are fairly generous; check out the full details on Kickstarter.