Skipti Takes Airbnb Concept To Next Level

By Kevin Robinson-Avila
Albuquerque Journal, N.M.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) With “Skipti”, owners can rent practically anything, from cameras, costumes and party stuff to tools, baby equipment or even books for students.

Albuquerque Journal, N.M.

Uber and Airbnb have turned the sharing economy into a global phenomenon, but the next big thing in peer-to-peer online rental services may carry a Made-in-New Mexico stamp.

Skipti, the new platform, will launch in June to connect owners of household goods with people who want to rent them, courtesy of longtime Albuquerque entrepreneurs Rich and Ioana Engstrom.

It’s been two years in the making, starting with Rich Engstrom’s original Skipti eureka! moment in fall 2015, followed by an 18-month effort to build foundational software in partnership with Romanian engineers. In the process, the Engstroms have assembled a team of internet professionals to take the business forward.

That includes renowned sharing-economy guru Juan Pablo Puerta, a Spaniard who built craigslist into a worldwide brand and who led international expansion efforts for Yahoo Search, Etsy and SoundCloud. Puerta came out of semi-retirement to lead Skipti as CEO because of the concept’s potential.

“It’s a model that makes sense, with a platform that’s built to basically rent out anything,” Puerta said. “Skipti is fundamentally an Airbnb for everything.”

Through Skipti, which means “exchange” in Icelandic, people with things to rent can rapidly upload photos and descriptions of items onto the platform with a suggested price tag. They log rental availability onto Skipti’s built-in calendar, allowing renters to select items and pay for them with a few finger clicks. That automatically alerts Skipti partner to pick up the rented good from its owner, deliver it to the renter and return it again afterward based on the times and dates logged on the calendar.

Unlike other sharing platforms, that process eliminates “meet-ups,” making transactions safer and easier for participating parties, said Ioana Engstrom, the company’s head of investor relations. All rental items are insured against theft, breakage or bodily injury.

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