Today, you can rent just about anything: accommodations (Airbnb), clothes (Rent the Runway), purses (Bag Borrow or Steal), and even boats (Boatbound). But when luxury exec Randy Brandoff investigated, he found no service that lets you borrow luxury watches. “When I saw it was not available,” he says, “I set out to build one.”
In 2013, he founded Eleven James (named after James Bond), a New York City–based service that lets users borrow $5,000-plus watches, typically for two to three months at a time. It currently has a membership in the “low thousands,” 40 percent of which are millennials. It claims to have amassed one of the largest watch collections in the world.
The service just raised $30 million of capital, following the $10 million raised after its debut. The new funding will be used to establish a new women’s rental service and target corporate customers.
Eleven James, and services like it, are part of what is called “the sharing economy,” the growing sector built around the renting, rather than the purchasing, of goods.“The sharing economy and the subscription economy are way past the point of being trends,” says Brandoff. “It is becoming much more the norm.”