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New startup will enable people to lend and borrow unused goods for extra cash

Finlay Dunseath
Camping in the hills  Mutu

A new startup launching exclusively in Christchurch is aiming to help connect people with their neighbours, minimise waste, and reduce their carbon footprint, all while making some extra cash.

Mutu is a peer-to-peer rental marketplace that will enable its customers to borrow and lend items which would otherwise be collecting dust.

It provides a secure space for Kiwis to quickly search, compare and locate items to rent based on budget and location. These items could include outdoor equipment, like surfboards and bikes, electronics, like cameras and drones, and renovation and DIY tools.

Mutu aims to help add an extra life cycle to everyday products and enable users to try out an item before they commit to buying it. Start-up founder, Toby Skilton, believes that Mutu's shared economy will work well in New Zealand due to Kiwis' willingness to be kind and trust one another. 

"Our goal is to start to shift those perspectives around ownership and encourage communities to share their resources that they've already got, rather than buying new ones and continuing to contribute to our growing landfills."

Skilton, who has lived in Christchurch for the last year, says he chose to launch the app in the garden city due to the people's love of the outdoors and its proximity to both the Southern Alps and surf beaches.

The service will be completely cost-free for the initial launch in Christchurch, besides an optional insurance fee. However, the business will introduce fees for successful transactions further down the line, Skilton says. A percentage of the start-up's profits will be donated to charities who share a similar goal of a more sustainable future.

Mutu is looking to launch in Christchurch in a number of months, depending on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic.