Finnish startup Rentle has just raised €3.79 million to fuel the transition to a circular economy, reflecting consumers’ new desire to access goods rather than purchase them. The SaaS startup is now planning to expand to meet growing demand.
Moving to a circular economy is a major behavioural shift that is picking up steam. Taking a circular approach to behaviours and habits is a critical part of creating a greener and more sustainable world. It’s all about giving more value to the full lifecycle of a product, finding ways to repurpose and reuse things, rather than simply discard them – reflecting that one man’s waste can very definitely be another’s treasure.
The circular economy has become embedded in society. It’s no longer simply about donating and recycling, but, we have seen a general cultural shift of consumers wanting to access goods and products rather than own them. Circular isn’t the future – it’s very much our present.
For businesses, though, going circular requires some consideration – reinvention in how to provide for consumers’ new desires and needs, in a way that remains beneficial and sustainable for the plant. Helping businesses make the transition to this circular world, Finnish innovator, Rentle has just scored about €3.8 million.
Launched in 2019, the Espoo-based startup has now raised about €3.8 million in seed funding. The round was led by investors Tera Ventures, Anthemis, Maki.vc, Mission One Capital, The Fund as well as a number of European and US family offices and angel investors.
Ilkka Kivimäki, General Partner at Maki.vc: “Rentle falls into the category of unlimited upside and huge optionality backed by a model where growing revenue means a transition towards a greener and more sustainable world. At Maki.vc, we are proud backers of Rentle’s world-class team and vision since day one.”
Rentle plans to use the newly raised funds to invest in product development to meet the rapidly growing demand from existing and new merchants, while also looking to expand its team.
Empowering merchants to go circular
The World Economic Forum stated that the world might change in one of eight ways by 2030––one of them being our collective consumerist behaviour. Experts at the World Economic Forum predict that “you will own nothing, and you’ll be happy. Whatever you want you’ll rent, and it’ll be delivered by drone.”
And it seems they were on to something.
Consumer behaviours are changing – we now expect to owe less, live life more minimalist and instead, subscribe to a diverse range of services to access goods.
Rentle taps into this transition and is building the merchant operating system for Commerce 3.0. Offering merchants with a commerce platform designed to start, manage and grow circular commerce.
CEO and co-founder, Tuomo Laine, explained: “Our mission is to stop the world from drowning in stuff by putting an end to one-off consumption, one merchant at a time. We’re building a first-of-its-kind technology that supports sellers in transitioning to more profitable and sustainable circular business models. For consumers, this will mean effortless access to a wider range of better quality goods at a lower price.”
What sets Rentle apart from existing commerce platform giants such as Shopify, is Rentle’s focus on enabling any retailer or brand to start a circular business model in a matter of minutes. Rentle’s merchants range from entrepreneur-led small businesses to ski resorts and retail brands such as Motonet and Decathlon UK.
Sophie Winwood, Principal at Anthemis: “Any large behavioural shift requires an underlying technology platform to facilitate it. As we move from buying goods to accessing them, we believe Rentle will be that platform. Not only is this move a necessity as we transition to a more sustainable commerce model, it also represents an enormous business opportunity, where embedded fintech and insurtech revenue streams will play a big role. Tuomo and his stellar team have already demonstrated the operational excellency to take on this challenge, and we are excited to support them in this next phase of growth.”
Eamonn Carey, General Partner at Tera Ventures added: “The scale of the opportunity that Rentle has in front of them is humongous. They’re at the confluence of several secular trends – from sustainability and the circular economy right through to a world where our concepts of ownership are changing. What’s more, they’re already making a huge impact on the big and small businesses they’re working with. I’m excited to be part of a great syndicate of investors supporting the company, and can’t wait to see the team execute against their vision.”