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This article was published 3/9/2020 (620 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
An east Winnipeg boy is behind a new startup looking to make a big splash in the sharing economy.
Born and raised in Transcona, Jordan Smith graduated from Murdoch MacKay Collegiate in 2008. After earning a bachelor’s degree in sociology, Smith moved to continue his education at the University of Toronto. It was there that he developed a passion for business innovation.
He moved back to Winnipeg to work with Skip the Dishes, focusing on growth and partnerships for the company. Last year, following some extensive world travel, he moved back to Toronto and began working to launch Renterii, a new app that he hopes will make recreational activities more widely available.
"Basically, we’re developing an application platform where people can list, rent and discover particular items," said Smith, who is the co-founder of Renterii.
"Last year I did a lot of travelling," Smith explained. "I wanted to be able to do and experience certain things, and I found it was difficult to do that. I went back to the office, started bouncing this idea around to colleagues. I want to connect people with these experiences."
Renterii users create a profile on the app. From there, they can search for or list items they are willing to rent out. That canoe or extra bike in your garage that doesn’t get regular use? List it. The app allows users to easily search for items, or see what is available in an area they may be living or visiting.
"Right now, we’re focused on items that are tied with leisure and outdoor events," Smith said. "But we’re really hoping to make any kind of experience accessible."
Each item registered on the site will be insured for damage, loss or theft, which Smith said is key to the experience on either end.
"We want it to be worry free," he said.
Renterii launches next week in Toronto and Winnipeg, where the company is located, as well as Vancouver.
"We’ll be going open platform from there," Smith said.
Once the app is well-established nationally, the goal is to take Renterii to the global market.
"That’s part of our road map," Smith said. "It will just come down to insuring that our insurance will be available anywhere, so that it’s worry free wherever you are."
While the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the sharing economy — and companies like Airbnb in particular — hard, Smith is confident that Renterii can find room to grow.
"The desire to do different things has always been there," he said. "We’re in a bit of a rough time now, but even though the world is going to look different, I think Renterii fits."
Sheldon Birnie is a reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review. The author of Missing Like Teeth: An Oral History of Winnipeg Underground Rock (1990-2001), his writing has appeared in journals and online platforms across Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. A husband and father of two young children, Sheldon enjoys playing guitar and rec hockey when he can find the time. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org Call him at 204-697-7112