“Neither a borrower nor a lender be” said Shakespeare through the character Polonius in Hamlet, and Polonius was almost immediately run through by Hamlet’s sword.
Dhiren Chatlani has had better luck, and believes that the lending and borrowing among peers is a healthy way to experience the market, and a concept whose time has come in Spain.
Dhiren knows quite a bit about the world and its markets, having studied and worked in the USA, where ideas seem to take off while the rest of us are having a coffee and singing ‘wouldn’t it be nice……..’
Although born and raised in Valencia, and having been a student at the American School of Puzol, Dhiren’s father and mother were from India and Singapore respectively and his father worked in imports and exports, of textiles among other products.
As the crisis approached in Europe in 2007 and 2008, and having finished his secondary school studies, he felt that it would be a good time to see the USA, to study there, but also to learn.
He moved around quite a bit, studying in Vermont and then Tennessee, where he had family. He tried computer studies but didn’t find what he was looking for.
He saw in the US how communication was changing; how people were communicating more and more through technology and less and less on a personal basis, as in Spain, and felt that a balance was needed if something was not to be lost.
In 2010 he moved to Madrid, but maintained the American connection, studying at Suffolk University there, before moving to the University’s hometown of Boston.
He began to take an interest in data and information, realising that the future lay in that direction, that companies could be more effective if they understood why, how and when their clients made their purchases, while at the same time being concerned that companies were collecting too much data about people.
This led him to the conclusion that people needed to understand better where and how traces of their lives were being left on the Internet.
After trying a variety of options, both for working and learning, he started thinking about Relendo as a concept; about peer lending and the effective use of our property, which is often gathering dust in a cupboard when it could form part of a broader personal and economic interaction between people with coincidental needs and resources.
One of the models that set him thinking was Air BnB, a company that is a coalition between hosts and guests, who can offer and receive accommodation with a vastly reduced expenditure, just as Blah Blah Cars does for travellers.
Although aware that some 30 companies had failed worldwide in similar endeavours, he was certain that the idea could work.
So in February 2014 he was back home in Valencia, where he attended an event about startups, and the Relendo team started to fall into place, starting with co-founder Jose Vicente Ruiz Cepeda, who had studied software engineering at Valencia Polytechnic University (UPV) and Urbana Champagne in Illinois, as well as interning for Yahoo in Silicon Valley.
Then along came Tomás Roig Martinez, a student at UPV with a degree in Software Engineering, specialising in Natural Language Processing, and Ana Castillo Pardo, who has a Masters degree in marketing focused on digital communication.
The idea of Relendo is simple; if you need some object; maybe a tool, or a piece of sports or musical equipment and don’t want to buy, then maybe out there is someone who has what you need and wouldn’t mind lending it to you, while at the same time, as the Americans like to say: “making a few bucks!”
Perfect symmetry; the only thing missing until now was Relendo, a website where you can find the person who has what you need, and a deal can be struck, in which both parties are covered by the company’s insurance policy.
The system is simple and takes advantage of Facebook to upload profiles and photos of the offered objects, after which, just start looking for that elusive jigsaw (which in case you didn’t know it is a carpenter’s tool for vertical sawing!)
Relendo is, as Dhiren says, more than just a business; it’s an experience, and a way to create a system of supply and demand that is more personalised and interactive than the kind of relationship you will have with a taxi driver or hotel receptionist or department store shop assistant.
Relendo can be found at https://www.relendo.com/