Montreal-based item-sharing app Partage Club has closed a $700,000 pre-seed funding round and has plans for additional fundraising this fall.
The funding will assist Partage Club with plans to add an insurance feature to the platform and to expand its enterprise-focused subscription model.
Founder and CEO Fauve Doucet created the app in 2022 when, after Christmas in her condo with her two children, she realized just how much extra stuff there was to deal with.
“I started thinking that it's not only toys, but anything we have at home that is severely under-utilized, that we could share it. We are in the context of post-pandemic, we've been seeing the value of social connection and knowing our neighbours more than ever. We need to think differently,” Doucet told SustainableBiz.
“We're getting more and more sensitive and aware about how we need to do something for the environment. It's kind of like everything came together.”
The app, available on Android and iOS, allows users in a neighbourhood to share items like household goods, sports equipment and tools for an agreed-upon amount of time. Today, the app has over 7,400 members and more than 2,200 listed products.
In addition to adding an insurance feature to the app, the funding is to be used for team and market expansions – soon into B.C. and then into California by 2024.
Partage Club's subscription model
The app is subscription-based, with the first three months free. After that, it costs $60 per year, or $5 per month with no limits on lending or borrowing.
The company also recently launched Partage Club Pro – aimed at partnering with cities, companies, real estate developers and universities. So far, Partage Club has partnered with 15 companies, three municipalities, two real estate developers as well as Université Laval.
“You get your money back, because it depends on the value of the item you lend or you borrow. But you see that people are lending camping tents, they are borrowing stuff for the kitchen,” Anaïs Majidier, Partage Club’s chief marketing officer and co-founder, said. “They are borrowing drills (or things) that are really expensive. So that’s on the B2C (business-to-consumer) side."
The app also offers a Pro version, allowing a municipality or company to pay for a group membership and offer it to its citizens or employees. Majidier said there is an offer for a reduced price depending on the number of people who sign up.
Some of the app’s angel investors include Frédéric Bastien, co-founder and managing partner of Amiral Ventures; Patrick Ellie, CEO and co-founder of Metrio; and Hugo Girard-Beauchamp, Maître Carré's founder.
Partage Club’s future growth
Partage Club is still working out the details of its insurance policy. However, Doucet explained there will be a minimum or deductible the company would not cover, as well as a maximum claim that would be part of the membership.
The plan to expand into B.C. and California came from a market study the company conducted showing those areas have similar “mentalities” around sharing and reuse that fit the mission of Partage Club.
“One of the main pillars we're looking at is to have people in the sales team, because as we mentioned, B2B (business-to-business) is really a focus. We're talking right now with companies and real estate developers or cities. If we can expand to have people developing the B2B aspects on the West Coast, that could be great,” Majidier said.
“Right now, we are looking to go with national companies that are going to onboard only Quebec for now. But eventually, they will help us by onboarding their employees nationally.”
Currently, Partage Club has five full-time and 10 part-time employees. Doucet said its goal is to double in size during 2024.
The company is considering adding the ability to lend and borrow larger items, including for example a vehicle. Beyond that Doucet discussed plans to eventually add an aspect of gamification to the app to encourage users.
Partage Club is also working with a third-party firm to measure its environmental and social impact, which Doucet hopes to integrate within the next two years.
“The thing is that the lifecycle of our products are unlimited. But we're working on this . . . with maybe the most popular objects or using AI to basically be able to calculate this,” Doucet said.
“So every time you borrow something, it would show you how many (greenhouse gases) that you're saving and also . . . how many social links you've been creating in your neighbourhood or your community, how much money you’ve been saving.”