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Gadget rental startup Lumoid shuts down, torpedoing Best Buy partnership plan

gear rental startup lumoid closes
Image used with permission by copyright holder
There’s disappointing news for anyone who likes to like rent gadgets and gear before deciding whether to hand over the cash to make it their own.

Lumoid, a company that has been renting out tech stuff to shoppers via its website since 2014, announced over the weekend that it’s closing down.

The San Francisco-based startup out with camera kit rentals before expanding its offerings to other gear like wearables and drones. But it hasn’t been able to make the business work.

The company was most recently in the news in June when we heard about its plans for a partnership with Best Buy to allow customers of the big-box retailer to “try before you buy.” In fact, it seems the deal was a key factor in Lumoid’s demise. The startup’s founder and CEO, Aarthi Ramamurthy, told TechCrunch her business experienced funding difficulties scaling up for the Best Buy launch and as a result decided to end its operation.

In a message posted online on Saturday,  December 9, she said that over the last four months, the firm “gradually wound down Lumoid, sold off assets and IP [intellectual property], and helped the team transition as best as we could.”

But despite the setback, Ramamurthy remained upbeat, writing in her post: “We’re all insane people for doing what we did, and thankful for our investors who believed in us when no one else did.”

The Lumoid founder added that she was proud to have built the startup and that in its lifetime, it managed to accomplish “a lot as a small team.”

The gadget rental business is clearly a challenge for those who have tried it. YBuy was another startup offering a similar service that fell by the wayside in 2012. Remaining options include Grover, an outfit founded in 2015 that runs with the motto: “Buy less, experience more.” Current Grover rentals include phones and tablets from $3 a month, wearables from $5 a month, and cameras for $10 a month. For specialists in camera and video gear, check out LensRentals and LensProToGo.

With Lumoid now well and truly behind her, Ramamurthy has decided to put her entrepreneurial endeavors on the back burner, revealing that she’s already started a new job at Facebook helping to develop its online payment systems.

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