Tech

Fleet thinks companies should rent laptops instead of buying them – TechCrunch

French startup Fleet wants to become your IT department’s best friend by managing hardware as a service. Fleet clients can rent computers and smartphones for a flat monthly fee. If there’s a hardware issue, the startup handles returns and repairs.

And when it’s time to renew, Fleet can exchange old corporate laptops and smartphones for new ones. Customers can see their current fleet of devices in a single admin interface.

The company offers a wide range of devices. For instance, a 14-inch MacBook Pro with an M1 Pro chip and 16GB of RAM currently costs €99.90 per device per month. The M1 MacBook Air starts at €54.90 per device per month. An iPhone 13 with 128GB of storage will cost you €44.90 per month.

You can also find Microsoft laptops (Surface Laptop Go, Surface Laptop 4 and Surface Pro 7), Dell computers and even a couple of Chromebooks. When a device is reaching its end of life and is sent back to Fleet, the company gives it to a nonprofit organization, sells it to a refurbishment company or recycles it.

Fleet is a bootstrapped startup and hasn’t raised any VC funding. But it’s been growing nicely as the company is expected to generate an annual turnover of $13.1 million (€12 million) at its current run rate.

It currently has 600 clients including some well-knwon French startups, such as Ankorstore, Ornikar, Sunday, Matera, Cubyn, Wemaintain and Shine. And today, the company is launching its device-as-a-service offering in Spain. The company is going to open an office in Barcelona as well.

There are more European expansions on the roadmap as many of Fleet’s suppliers can deliver across Europe already. The company is looking at Portugal, Italy, Germany and Belgium for its next markets.

Many companies choose to buy devices for their employees directly. But there’s a big upfront cost and it means that you don’t have any supplier that can help you in case of hardware issues.

Companies have been looking at ways to turn these big capital expenditures into operating costs. For instance, a company could negotiate a credit line with their bank to buy hardware.

And this is key to understanding Fleet’s business model. The startup negotiates directly with financial partners and leasing companies so that Fleet clients just have to create an account and submit some documents. They can see if they can order some laptops in just a few minutes. Fleet then becomes another service provider that does the heavy lifting for you.


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