LendA is a web platform connecting lenders to borrowers in communities by providing a seamless experience
Have you ever wanted to borrow something for a certain time instead of buying it? Or wanted to lend something out that's just sitting unused and make money from it? LendA provides a centralized place to go when you need to borrow items or equipment from local community members. Our platform also gives a chance to connect neighbors and the community by fostering a relationship of community members lending items to members that need them in a seamless transaction.
How might we make the experience of borrowing necessary tools and equipment convenient for local communities so that borrowers and lenders both have a seamless transaction?
Communities and neighborhoods by nature are meant to be closely knit groups that you can count on but most of the time, there is still a disconnect.
There are stores like Home Depot that rent out power tools for example, but this may not be feasible to some as the store may be too far out of range or not have the specific item they are looking for. You might need a specific tool for a home project only to buy it and then have it sit in the tool box for years untouched.
While conducting our own research with 5+ users, we found that users have spontaneous needs such as ring lights, or portable AC units that may not be readily available to rent in a store and not a big enough reason to purchase to own long term. Some tasks require something very short term and nearby which is not always possible with stores having limited hours and varying distance. All 5+ of our users we interviewed mentioned if the item they were needing was not going to be needed long term, there was no desire to purchase and instead just needed on a one off situational basis.
While homes are getting bigger, space for items is not keeping up to standard and requiring more and more people to rent storage space. The problem that exists is there is no centralized place to go to borrow and lend items/tools to closeby community members. There also is an issue of not knowing what is available out there and what tools/equipment might be nearby.
User Pain Points: By conducting user interviews we spoke to 5 users on their past borrowing and lending experiences. We found that our users had similar pain points of not being able to easily find the item they need fast and on the flip side, not having the trust of lending items that they own. The items we found out that users borrowed came from projects that were short term and urgent such as a user who needed a tool to fix the sink. Instead of buying a new one and spending money on an expensive tool they might not need long term they just borrowed it from a family member. Users also did not have the trust they needed when lending out their products even if they personally knew the person.
Meet Abigale a busy young professional always on the go and busy. As someone who’s busy and on the go she has items she needs whether it be a bike bump or table, but doesn't have the space in her apartment and nor the need to buy it long term. She represents an ideal user of LendA as someone who takes on different projects herself and is always on the go. She can use the platform to expand her existing network and have more people to borrow from for her needs.
After talking to users we analyzed our target users' main pain points and strategize to work on the following features and prioritize them for our MVP:
With our platform we sought out to dive deep into our user interviews more and instill trust into both borrowers and lenders by adding user profiles for lenders and borrowers. We also added descriptions for products to ensure the right item is found for borrowers that properly meets their needs. For expensive items, we discovered through our user interviews that lenders are more hesitant to lend out expensive items due to fear of damage. Because of this we’ve given the power to lenders to decide if they want to require a deposit of their choosing to make them feel reassured when lending items.
Below is the user journey of both borrowers and lenders and the emotions they feel when lending and borrowing items:
Account Login Page:
After we showcased our prototype to the users again, we learned and re-implemented
LendA was built using a MERN Stack (MongoDB, Express, ReactJS and NodeJS – as well as React-Redux/Redux Toolkit), hosted on Heroku, and with the utilization of an AWS S3 Bucket for our file storage.
High level journey of a request:
A user wants to utilize the LendA web app to offer up their battery operated weed eater for their neighbors to borrow:
What was the hardest part of development?:
Does your app have any scaling issues?
What are some key takeaways?
We believe for our project it would be a great idea to become mobile friendly and develop a mobile app alongside our web app. We also want to track KPI’s and get feedback from users to continue iterating.
Some of the several metrics we want to track post-launch of LendA: