The Web has proven to be a compelling solution to tackle environmental issues on many levels: shop online instead of driving your SUV to the mall on Saturdays; share documents online instead of obsessively printing all of your emails; put your unused stuff for rent instead of letting it die in your basement… Wait, renting your stuff out to preserve the environment? That’s unheard of!
Well, yesterday, I went over to Zilok‘s office in San Francisco to interview Jeff Boudier, General manager/Chief evangelist at Zilok. Zilok has generated quite a buzz recently at the last Plugg and NextWeb event. Launched in November 2007 and already active in 4 countries (USA, France, Belgium, Netherlands), Zilok is the place to rent just about anything online.
Zilok focuses on connecting people in a geographical radius. As you can see in the video, the search for objects is location-centric. Each items that fits my search query are shown on a map, I click on the one I want, chose the dates and send my rental request. That easy! Zilok is a marketplace, similar to eBay, but for rentals: users pay a small fee for putting up stuff in their listings. Some similar projects have failed before, but Jeff thinks it is more a questioning of timing. Today, Jeff positions Zilok as a tool to tackle environmental issues: If you had access to your neighbors’ basement, how many things would you take there instead of buying it?
Zilok wants to offer communities a tool to share their utilities as a mean to fight households’ waste as much as possible.