Idle app expanding, looking for investors

Less than one year after launching, the Baton Rouge-based peer-to-peer renting app Idle has spread to 16 states and its owners are gearing up for their first round of fundraising on the pitch night and angel investor circuit.

Though most of Idle’s users are in the Baton Rouge area, the app is organically spreading, with more than 2,000 users as far away as California and Massachusetts, according to Chris Dykes, who developed the app’s software and is one of several partners in the venture.

Similar to Airbnb, an online community for short-term property rentals, and Turo, which enables car sharing, Idle provides a platform for owners to rent items that are sitting idle or underutilized in their closet or garage. Things like a tailgating setup, crawfish boil pot, and mountain bike are among the thousands of items users have posted for rent. Cotton candy machines are, believe it or not, one of the most popular items on the site, Dykes says.

“You would be surprised what there is demand for,” he says. “Cotton candy machines are really popular for kids’ birthday parties.”

Though Idle’s growth has thus far been facilitated with personal investments from the owners, Dykes says expansion plans mean it’s time to take the product on the road in search of venture capital funds.

Idle also will start to market itself more strategically, and concentrate on growing in its core market of Baton Rouge. Eventually, Dykes says, Idle would like to start up a delivery service, which would spare renters the trouble of having to pick up and return the items they rent to their owners.

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