Rheaply: eBay for purchasing or sharing unused inventory

Rheaply: eBay for purchasing or sharing unused inventory


Name: Rheaply

Legal Name: Rheaply, Inc.

Location: Chicago, IL

Founded: 2016

Founder(s): Garry Cooper, Tyler Skelton

 Website: https://www.rheaply.com/

Social Media: 816 followers on Twitter, 792 likes on Facebook, 269 followers on LinkedIn, 295 followers on Instagram

Industry: Global Inventory Management Software Market

Size: $2B in 2017 (Source: Global Market Insights)


Rheaply, an asset management and marketplace platform, seeks to build a shared economy for research institutions, Fortune 500 companies, startups, schools, and nonprofits. It does so by allowing users to share its existing repository of resources, including individual expertise, with others in the industry. 

Rheaply tracks the businesses’ inventory and asset depreciation, and then acts as an online marketplace for underutilized goods – this could range from surplus chemicals to unused microscopes. What’s more, it analyses inventory usage patterns to demonstrate how assets can be better utilized and how to make smarter purchase decisions.

The Product

Rheaply is a SaaS product that helps organizations track their inventory, while also promoting sustainable use and purchase or rent of assets. 

Here is how. First off, Rheaply’s Asset Exchange Manger (AxM) helps inventorize the available assets of an organization. At the same time, it creates a community of organizations who are committed to optimization via surplus exchange. 

Then, buyers can set up alerts for the resources they wish to secure and even customize their feed with filters. And sellers can list their products or talent decide the price, means of transfer and payment terms on the platform. Finally, after a successful transaction, users are encouraged to rate products and transactions, much like on Amazon or eBay.

Ensuring that working-condition assets are shared with others who need it, is a great way for clients to manage resources sustainably and financially. 

On the other hand, it’s way more dependable for the buyer to source from the network than from a third party reseller. Not to mention, the startup automatically secures compliance to state and federal regulation for transfer of assets.   

To gain access to this network, organizations need to sign up to Rheaply by paying a monthly subscription. Enterprises need to pay up $10,000 per month, while academic facilities need to only shell out $1000 month. The startup also levies a 20% transaction fee, as outlined at a Techstars event, for every asset that is moved via its platform. 

What’s more, Rheaply adds to the allure of sustainability by gamifying it. Users can collect points from transactions on the platform, which can be used to participate in raffles or earn prizes for their organization.  

Origin and Founding Team

It all started, as reported in Chicago Mag, sometime in 2015 in Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine where Garry Cooper was doing his postdoctoral research. He noticed that a colleague was trashing many vials of perfectly useful antibodies. 

Cooper was aware of the fact that securing funding for research is tough, and thus, research facilities couldn’t afford to be careless with their inventory. With this insight in mind, Cooper started asking scientists in the neighborhood if they wanted anything that his colleague was intending to dispose off. Cooper ended up finding one person who needed a few of the excess inventory and even offered assets in return. This was his ‘aha’ moment.

He also realized that inventory management is a large and growing market, but existing asset management and tracking software were not intuitive enough. And he saw a pressing need to improve asset utilization. What’s more, though adopting sustainable practices is the need of the hour, Cooper knew it is something that researchers just didn’t have the bandwidth to even think about.

Taking all these gaps into consideration, Cooper quit his day job and built Rheaply’s web-based platform, the first AxM. The tool was built to improve inventory visibility and utilization through a managed online exchange.

“We looked outside of the way researchers were traditionally doing things and found that most other industries saw greater productivity when they found ways to share and collaborate. We applied that same kind of thinking here so that users can trade or receive a significant discount for the supplies that they need. Additionally, users can even use our platform to request assistance and support with their experiments.” Cooper told 1871 Blog.

He inaugurated the new platform with a pilot program at Northwestern’s medical school in January 2017, and then started selling to 13 clients by September 2018.

Performance and Trends

One of Built in Chicago’s “50 Startups to Watch” in 2018, Rheaply got its first two rounds of funding in January and February 2018. Then in July 2018, it secured $120k from the Techstars NYC accelerator program, according to Pitchbook. More recently, in May 2019, Rheaply won the Leadership Award for Advancing the Circular Economy.

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