Denver startup Fluid lets neighbors rent to neighbors

Posted at 10:12 PM, May 15, 2017

You know all that stuff in your garage you barely use? Tools, camping gear, sports equipment...What if you could make a little money off of it and help out your neighbors at the same time? A Denver startup is making that connection, and says it can save you time and money.

Fluid is a "community sharing app," with the mantra "Don't make your neighbors buy the stuff you already have."

Tony Hodes, a Northwest Denver resident, has a shed filled with stuff that used to just sit there.

"It never made sense to me that I would have this item that I only use once a year," Hodes said. "Why not make good use of it?"

That's the same question the founder of Fluid, James Eberhard, was asking last year after buying a $100 tool for a one-time project.

"This is a complete waste. There's got to be a better way," Eberhard said. "Within a thousand feet of me, this tool was in two different neighbor's garages."

The app allows users to post photos of items they want to rent and the rate -- hourly, daily or weekly. Borrowers can message them to reserve. Fluid manages the billing and takes a 20 percent cutting, while also taking away much of the risk, even for people renting out their cars.

"Everything on the platform is insured, so we've got a million dollar policy and $50,000 replacement coverage," Eberhard said.

The app also has an identify verification system and charges a late fee if items aren't returned on time.

It makes pricing suggestions based on other users' prices.

So, Tony Hodes listed his tents, camping gear, push lawnmower and his bounce house.

Hodes' neighbor, Cole Jacobs, rented his bounce house for $35 for her son's second birthday party. 

"Oh yeah, it saved me a tony of money. It would have been $200, and I didn't have that for a birthday party," Jacobs said.

Now, she is renting out her Sony camera to make some spending money on the side.

"I've rented it out once, and it made $48," she said. "It was one-twelfth the cost of the camera, so twelve more times and I've paid for the camera."

Fluid already has about 10,000 users in Denver. The company plans to perfect the platform and then expand to other cities across the country.