In February 2012, Philipp Glöckler first had the idea of the lending and borrowing app “Why Own It”. It launched in August 2012. Until now, the big breakthrough did not happen – the app will be taken off the iTunes Store on March 12th. In his blogpost, Glöckler shared KPIs, issues, wrong expectations and what he learned.
Based in Hamburg, the Why Own It GmbH was founded in April 2012, two months after Glöckler pitched the idea of the app to his friends. In August 2012, the first iPhone version was available in the app store.
Assuming friends would only like to lend their items to friends, the first version of the app focussed on that. A year later, an update was launched that also allowed borrowing items from strangers, showing offers in the neighborhood. But even after building a new front and back end and updating the design in 2013, the app did not succeed.
And not even press coverage and the “sharing is caring” movement could help.
What went wrong
Looking back, Glöckler states in his blogpost that he clearly underestimated the conception of a mobile app – compared to a website. Also, the team figured word of mouth would make the app a success. Unfortunately, not everyone who likes an app recommends it to friends and family. And besides that, they got stuck with the chicken-egg-problem.
Many people wanted to borrow items, not so many wanted to lend it to others. On top, the app never had a proper business model: “In the beginning, everything went super fast. Idea. Concept. Investment. Launch. We were always thinking about renting out products at some point,” Glöckler said to VentureVillage.
Being asked about his three key learnings, he said:
“First: have a business model and try to make money from day one. Second: fail faster. Third: have more conversations with users” .
The app will be taken off the iTunes store on March 12th, 2015. The Why Own It GmbH will continue to exist as an agency to develop clients’ products and their own ones. Glöckler started working on justSPENT, an app that gives user an overview over their spendings.