Josh Verne grew up working in a furniture store founded by his grandfather in downtown Philadelphia. Located in a blue-collar neighborhood, Josh got to know his customers and the effort they made to make a better life for their families. That left a deep impression on him and as he got more involved in the business, it grew from one store to distribution centers that would distribute to other stores and then thanks to innovations like next day delivery and interest free financing, Home Line Furniture became a global business with seven international offices, 2,300 employees, and over $400 million in annual retail revenue.
Josh’s latest venture, ownable, the first ever pure Direct to Consumer virtual Rent-To-Own (vRTO) company, has been built to help those very same people. Founded just two years ago, ownable’s “real-things to real-people at real and repeatable margins” approach has seen them scale from launch to $8.5M in gross revenue in just its first full Q4 ever last year ($17M in 2019) by cleaning up the rent to own market.
Josh and his team saw an industry saddled with brick and mortar locations, huge product inventories, and fulfillment costs that is rife with fees, lack of customer service, and a lack of transparency. ownable delivers a transparent and seamless process for customers, underwriting them for a “rental cap” and allowing them to rent from their retail partners like Best Buy right on ownable.com and (coming this quarter) to check out on other retailer sites by selecting ownable as a checkout option. This marketplace approach allows for ownable to charge substantially less than the others in the space and frees them from delivery, inventory, and fulfillment costs.
The vRTO market is currently at $8.5B with a TAM of $85B and expected to grow to $100B by 2023. ownable allows the growing market of credit challenged individuals an opportunity to rent and purchase name brand products at payments they can afford from stores they trust. Instead of pulling traditional credit scores, ownable looks at checking account transactions and/or income to decide on what they will allow the consumer to rent.
ownable’s customers are hard working Americans with annual household incomes between $18,000 and $40,000 per year. They include approximately 100 million financially underserved non prime consumers; a core market of 60M+ underbanked consumers who wind up heading to payday lenders or paying almost triple at some existing RTO stores to get things they need.
This model offers a huge benefit to ownable’s retail partners as well, delivering customers who would otherwise not be able to shop for these items at national chains. For Best Buy, ownable projects for 2021 that they will process over 100,000 additional transactions of orders they otherwise would have not gotten. Approximately two-thirds of the top 250 retailers do not have a lease option for consumers creating a lot of market potential.
ownable is well positioned to capitalize on this potential by securing a $115M forward purchase program (off balance sheet debt facility) with Blue Elephant Capital Management that covers 100% of the cost of goods and offers several advantages over traditional debt facility options; which includes preserving equity for their investors.
As with any D2C business, customer satisfaction is critical to success to drive both reorder rates and word of mouth. ownable is doing very well on both fronts. Customers who are happy share their experiences with friends and on social media.
- “My name is kilua083 on Instagram. If you have any questions come and ask me. I would give 10 stars if I could to this company, and no, they are not paying me.
- Keyon Jones: “Big thanks to the ownable team once again for great customer service and quality assurance! I recently had an issue with a current purchase. I reached out to the customer service team; they did a great job with a timely response, and also providing a solution to my issue. Thank you again to the ownable team!”
- Zoe W.: “I enjoy this type of program, especially being a single working mother. I can get items now my kids want and make easy inexpensive payments for 6 months. Win Win”
- Rob: “Jade loves Disney and she loves ownable because we’re able to get things from Best Buy like this that we couldn’t before. You’re an amazing company. We love you so much for what you’ve been able to help us do for our daughter and what we can have now as a family.”
If you’d like to learn more about ownable and talk to Josh Verne about this fast growing company, contact Steven Saltzstein, CEO of Force Wealth and we’ll make the introduction.
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