Fat Lama Founders

London-based startup Fat Lama has raised $1.5m (£1.15m) from Greylock Partners; Paul Buchheit, creator of Gmail; and Justin Waldron, the co-founder of Zynga.

The news comes after the startup, which launched a peer-to-peer rental site allowing people to borrow and loan their belongings, raised £1m in April from a collective of angel investors.

Prior to that, Fat Lama had raised £150,000 in pre-Seed money.

Fat Lama, which graduated from Y Combinator this Summer, says that every item lent on its platform is covered up to £25,000 thanks to an insurance agreement underwritten by XL Catlin.

Chaz Englander, the CEO, believes the provision of insurance is largely why the firm has grown since launch.

“This is the first ever policy of its type; it means every item, on every transaction, is automatically insured.

“Where users are renting out high-end equipment, this cover is essential and it allows us to achieve the necessary liquidity for the marketplace to grow,” he told UKTN.

Fat Lama, which is looking to close a Series A round next year, says the funds it’s raised so far will be used to spur its growth in New York and to support its rollout outside of London.

In the UK, Fat Lama will first focus on securing customers in Bristol, Bath, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Manchester.

Englander, who previously worked in early-stage investment, set up the business alongside Rosie Dallas, a marketing and branding specialist, and Owen Turner-Major, a developer.

Fat Lama says its weekly revenue is $8,000 per week, with total weekly bookings in London currently standing at $32,000.

“We live in a world where we’re forced to make large, permanent purchases driven by fleetingly transient needs – Fat Lama changes that,” Waldron said.

The startup will be pushing its native app launch in two weeks time.

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