Case Study

Second Warehouse

Second Warehouse created an application that makes it much easier to organize equipment rental for bands and artists. You simply log on, put in all the equipment that you need, and the system contacts the rental places in all the cities you’re going to on the specified dates and negotiates equipment rental.

AV Equipment Rental Made Simpler

Taking a band on the road requires more than just booking venues. It also requires working with many vendors to ensure the band has all the equipment it needs to put on the show the crowd is expecting. Second Warehouse makes the rental process easier.

  • Pro AV Cross-Rental In Your Pocket
  • Vendors Enter Your Inventory
  • Find Old and Obscure Products
  • Access On Web And Mobile

Backendless: Tell us about yourself and Second Warehouse. Where did the idea come from?

Lars Kjebekk, Co-Founder of Second Warehouse: We are located in Norway. My colleague Stuart Harrison came up with the idea. He was a front of house sound engineer and toured with a lot of companies during the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. 

When you are on a tour or when you do a concert, there is a need for equipment, so every concert or festival requires a lot of equipment. Everything you see, from the stage, the speakers, and video display, is supplied by a rental company. The rental company depends on other rental companies to fulfill their requirement for a job. So, if you get a big artist coming, you might need some more speakers, you might need some more staging, or whatever. The old way to do this has been to pick up your phone, call your colleagues and ask them “do you have this and this equipment on stock at those dates available?” This has been a very time-consuming job. A job that took weeks before.

Stuart had this idea that, since the world has moved forward and everything now is online, there should be a solution for this that is also online. So he came with the idea and I was in the first meeting and we sat down and drafted a plan, then took it from there.

Fast-forwarding to now, what is the end-user experience like working with your system? How does the process work given the same scenario, where a manager needs equipment?

So first of all, every rental company in the world can join Second Warehouse. It is free to join, doesn’t cost you anything, so what we ask is for you to upload your equipment to us. Let’s say you have a shortage on the on a job so you require four speakers – Yamaha speakers. So, you simply go to our website and type in Yamaha and the model you want, select it, and then you add the quantity, the date range you need it, and the area you need it delivered to. You simply click search and you’ll see all suppliers that have the same product stocked available for you. You can order one or as many as you want of them to send a request. Once the request is sent, the supplier receives it and they can reject it or they can accept it and send an offer back. 

This business is very competitive, so arguing a price or negotiating prices is important. We have a very feature-rich module for that where you can edit your price and ask for a better price, or the supplier can try to raise his price, and so on. You can use the chat function to communicate. You can also attach any documents that you would like to be included in the chat and you can change whatever dates. You can add accessory equipment, and so on.

Once you have an agreement, you can do something we call “handshake”. So both of you have to handshake. When both sides complete a handshake, the negotiation is converted to an order and both parties get their PDF documents with a complete contract.

Second Warehouse is a web application built with JavaScript frontend library and with Backendless as a backend service.

Rental Companies
Events Served
Pending Companies

[W]e chose to purchase an already packaged [solution] and just wanted someone to take care of that for us, the whole thing. We have never regretted that. As far as I can see, we haven’t had any limitations because of it. On the contrary, we have support, and we take advantage of it.

- Lars Kjebekk, Co-Founder

When you were architecting or designing your solution, did you consider any alternatives for your backend, like building one yourself or using an off-the-shelf solution?

Yes, when we started the project, our main programmer from Russia, Yuri, did a lot of research. We had previously worked with Parse on the project, and Parse shut down. Then he came across Backendless and found it to be feature-rich and it had all the requirements we needed. So the choice came down to Backendless.

What features in Backendless do you use today that you rely on?

Business logic, persistence, sending out emails, login functionality, security. We use the whole package, basically.

In how many countries is your service available? Where do you know people are using it?

I don’t know the number, but it’s available in all of Europe. We are launching in the U.S. in a month or two. We’re also looking into Russia, so it’s very much a global business.

We launched Second Warehouse in March 2018. We quickly had rapid growth in our userbase, so we quickly passed 200 rental companies. We have focused very much in the U.K. to start off with because it makes sense to start in a smaller area to get as many users as possible. We have more than 160 users there now that are registered and using service. We have quite a few in Central Europe also, but in addition to that, I think we have more than 150 pending companies that have applied but we haven’t launched there yet. So in the U.S., there are quite a few also waiting for us to launch.

As a businessman and technologist at the same time, what would you recommend to other companies that think about building their own backend versus relying on some off-the-shelf solution? What are the lessons that you learned, both pros and cons?

When we made the decisions about how to build our system, one of the first things we found out was that we don’t want to handle the backend ourselves because it’s a lot of work with security, and hardware can be an issue. So we chose to purchase an already packaged [solution] and just wanted someone to take care of that for us, the whole thing. We have never regretted that. As far as I can see, we haven’t had any limitations because of it. On the contrary, we have support, and we take advantage of it.

Do you and your guys use our support system?

Yes, our guys, our programmers, use your support system quite a lot. They are quite active, both in the Slack community and also in posting support topics.

How is Backendless support treating you?

I would say that Backendless support is very quick at replying and solving the issues. Absolutely.

Perhaps finally, to close, do you have any words of wisdom or wishes you could pass on to others who are looking into Backendless? From your experience, any advice on what to do or what to avoid?

I would strongly recommend using Backendless. They have proven to be a reliable company with a lot of quality workers there and a lot of quality products there. Their system is stable and support is really good.