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Golf conundrum gives Colorado Springs entrepreneur a big idea

May 27, 2016 Updated: May 27, 2016 at 7:13 pm
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What began as an idea for sharing luggage has grown into a sharing/rental site for many items, including power tools and camping gear, for lendmeyourgear.com. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

When Glenn Carlson wanted to borrow a travel case for his golf clubs and couldn't find one, he ended up buying the item for $300 and later came up with an idea that could eventually become the next big online marketplace.

Carlson launched LendMeYourGear.com in January to allow users, who now are mostly from the Colorado Springs and Denver areas, to rent costly tools, outdoor gear, luggage and other items on a short-term basis to each other and hopes to raise enough money to expand the site nationwide. Carlson, a manager for Centennial-based Arrow Electronics Inc. who lives in Colorado Springs, said he had to learn web coding to build the site, which he sees as the next logical extension of the sharing economy that includes lodging site AirBnB and transportation application Uber.

"I wanted to give people a way to connect to each other to lend items like camping gear, tools, luggage or anything else you can imagine - items that are expensive to buy but are sparingly used," Carlson said.

"I had the idea after an airline broke my driver and looked for a golf case to protect my clubs only to find it would cost $300 for something I would only used a few times. I looked for someone I could borrow it from, but didn't find anyone, so I bought the case. I realized I could make money from the stuff I already owned and rent items instead of buying them."

The site has listings for 42 items from about 40 users who are offering anything from a bow saw for $4 a day to a portable tile saw for $36 a day and has generated about 10 rentals in its nearly five months of operations, Carlson said. LendMeYourGear.com charges users a 7 percent fee to use the site, which also includes credit card processing fees.

Carlson hopes to launch a Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign in the next few months to raise up to $200,000 for marketing to attract more than 10,000 additional users along the Front Range. He eventually plans to seek about $1 million from angel investors to expand LendMeYourGear's reach nationwide, but plans on keeping his post at Arrow.

Carlson has been with Arrow more than eight years, most recently as supplier marketing manager. He has run unsuccessfully for an at-large seat on the Colorado Springs City Council in 2015 and for a local state House seat in 2014. He holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Colorado College.

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Contact Wayne Heilman: 636-0234

Twitter @wayneheilman

Facebook Wayne Heilman

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