Can a Startup Online Marketplace Disrupt the Metrology Market?

In May Metrology News posted an article titled Is Disruptive Innovation coming to the Metrology Equipment Market? In a somewhat serendipitous fashion, Metrology.News was recently contacted by a startup company that very well may cause significant disruption in the Metrology market – albeit in a rather unexpected way.

The startup company, KWIPPED, is not planning to create disruption through typical means such as accepting lower profit margins to fuel market entry, targeting smaller niche markets or introducing innovative new metrology products or services to the market. No, if this startup becomes a truly disruptive force in the metrology market (something they are already doing in other markets) it will be because of two atypical reasons:

  • They achieve their goal of convincing metrology equipment buyers that renting and leasing metrology equipment often makes better business sense than outright purchasing.
  • Rental/leasing customers and metrology equipment suppliers will see the value of KWIPPED’s 2-sided B2B equipment rental/leasing marketplace, and will become active participants on the startup’s technology platform.

KWIPPED is a 2-sided online marketplace where businesses and professionals can rent or lease specialty equipment from a large network of equipment suppliers that have equipment available. referred to the startup as the “Uber” of equipment rentals.

While KWIPPED’s platform facilitates rentals and leases across more than 900 equipment categories, spanning more than 30 industry verticals, their CEO, Robert Preville, told Metrology.News “We have focused more of our sales and marketing efforts and driven more rentals and leases in several specific verticals including laboratory, medical, land surveying, power utility and light construction. The metrology equipment market is a great fit for KWIPPED’s online platform and plan to focus more attention on building brand awareness and acquiring metrology equipment suppliers and metrology equipment rental and leasing customers in the coming months.”

When Precille was asked how he felt KWIPPED could be disruptive in the metrology market, he responded, “Disruption is often perceived as a threat to incumbent businesses within a market, but we actually see the type of disruption that KWIPPED creates as an enhancement for both the buyer and seller side of the market. Based on our experiences in other equipment markets, like lab and medical, we think our technology, and the 2-sided marketplace model, creates several positive changes in traditional market dynamics.”

“It’s not that easy to source reliable metrology equipment suppliers that are willing and able to rent or lease their equipment. When it comes to rentals and leases, it’s a very fragmented and geographically dispersed supply chain. By aggregating a large, reliable supply chain on a central website platform, comparing equipment options and rental and leasing rates becomes a simple, efficient task. So, many businesses that may have only been considering the purchase of equipment may be exposed to the value of renting or leasing and a non-purchase option may make better business sense.”

“We’ve been able to show equipment suppliers that have traditionally only dealt in equipment sales that rentals and leases are in high demand and appeal to new target markets and drive new revenue channels. Many of our suppliers are setting aside inventory and even investing in a pool of new inventory available for rentals and leases, which means a lot of new inventory, which is accessible through non-purchase means, is being introduced into the market.”

One of KWIPPED’s Suppliers, Transit & Level Clinic, is an authorized Leica Geosystems 3D Reality Capture Dealer throughout the southeast and offers sales, service, rentals, training and support for High Definition Scanning equipment and software including the Leica P-Series Scanners and new, BLK360 Imaging Scanners. According to Transit & Level Sales Director, Charles Lawley, “KWIPPED has played an important role in helping our company by creating a platform that allows us to reach out to potential customers beyond our base region. They provide a marketing platform that saves us money while creating additional revenues we would not be able to get. KWIPPED is also opening up a competitive world to customers for them to shop the best rates and equipment, which may not be available through their regional dealers.”

Preville continued, “Lastly, there seems to be a misguided notion that online marketplaces, like Uber and Airbnb, can only be effective in the B2C world, but not in the B2B world because businesses will not be willing to engage with suppliers through an online platform. We’ve already proven that this unequivocally not so. Our young online business has already received more than 10,000 electronic RFQs from 7500+ business customers including well known enterprises like Apple, SpaceX, Coca-Cola, Boeing and General Electric. KWIPPED is showing that the 2-sided marketplace model can and does work in B2B – even in markets dealing with very complex applications and technical equipment.”

According to Preville, KWIPPED’s customers choose rentals and leases over purchasing for a wide range of reasons, including:

  • Capital Constraints – Metrology equipment can be very expensive and sometimes purchasing it outright simply isn’t an affordable option. A rental or lease offers more affordable access to cost prohibitive equipment.
  • Short-Term Applications – Metrology equipment is often needed temporarily for one-off projects. Once the project is complete there is no longer a need for the equipment. For example, metrology equipment is used for factory mapping; but once the mapping is complete there is no longer a need to have the equipment. In these short-term situations rentals obviously offer a smarter financial option.
  • Latest Technology – With metrology technology evolving and advancing so quickly, the latest metrology equipment can become obsolete in a short time. Renting and leasing empowers users to affordably access the latest equipment available in the market and avoid getting stuck working with outdated equipment and watching it depreciate.
  • Try Before You Buy – If purchasing equipment does make better business sense, rentals allow users to affordably try out various makes and models and identifying the ideal equipment before committing to an expensive purchase that will affect the company for years to come.
  • Testing New Markets – A business or professional could rent a particular piece of metrology equipment they don’t currently own as a low-risk way to experiment and see if there is market demand for expanded services.

Preville went on to explain that in addition to the predictable reasons above, the number one reason their customers are renting equipment, less predictably, is that a large percentage of their customers are doing contract work for a client and unlike equipment purchases, the cost of equipment rentals can be passed on to the client – and sometimes even marked up for added profitability.

The company entered the market dealing exclusively in equipment rentals, but entered the much larger equipment leasing market when they realized there was an opportunity gap between short-term rentals and straight purchasing.

“We’re trying to offer businesses non-purchase options that make smart financial sense. Renting typically makes more sense for shorter term needs of 12 months or less. We were seeing a demand from businesses in need of equipment for two or three years, but still not interested in purchasing. A lease option offers extremely affordable monthly payments in exchange for a longer term commitment. Lease-to-own options are also available and attractive to many of our customers,” explained Preville.

Preville concluded, “There are businesses that need metrology equipment and there are businesses that have metrology equipment. We’re just using technology to make it easy for both parties to find one another and efficiently execute rental and leasing transactions with one another.”

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