From Richmond Times-Dispatch By

Daniel Perrone and Karen Rodgers O’Neil are co-founders of The Shed, which has shifted to a different business model since its creation by partnering with product manufacturers to rent tools and other items to customers. 2019, Joe Mahoney/Time-Dispatch

A Goochland County-based startup company that enables people to rent household tools, sporting goods and other useful items has won backing from an investment firm founded by the former chairman and CEO of NASCAR.

The Shed, a rental platform founded by entrepreneurs Karen Rodgers O’Neil and Daniel Perrone in 2018, said Monday it got a direct investment from Silver Falcon Capital, a Charlotte, N.C.-based firm founded by former NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France.

Silver Falcon Capital invests and provides brand development for businesses in consumer goods, sports-related businesses, health and wellness brands, and restaurants.

The dollar amount of the investment by Silver Falcon Capital was not disclosed.

But the deal makes Silver Falcon the single largest investor in The Shed, which started its operations with a warehouse in the Rockville Commerce Center just off Interstate 64 in Goochland and since has opened another location in Denver.

“With the investment from Silver Falcon Capital, we are well-positioned to expand into new markets, hire key personnel, refine our branding, develop marketing campaigns, and create a premium and cohesive omni-channel customer experience,” Perrone, CEO of The Shed, said in a statement.

The company, which rents products through its website, has pivoted its business model since it was founded. It initially stored and rented used items from one consumer to another as part of what’s often called the “sharing economy.”

The business has now shifted to create partnerships with product manufacturers to rent various items to customers such as outdoor recreation equipment, party supplies, household and garden tools, and industrial equipment.

With the Silver Falcon Capital investment, The Shed is planning an expansion to Portland, Ore., and additional markets in 2021 including in Florida, said O’Neil, the company’s co-founder and chief marketing officer.

The Shed offers delivery of rented products, but it is moving more into the concept of operating storefront locations where people can pick up items they might need temporarily, ranging from sporting goods to crutches.

“We are considering a second location in Richmond sooner rather than later,” O’Neil said. “What we found this past year was people love to come to The Shed to pick up their products. Because people love to come and see all that we have, we are now moving to storefront locations.”

The investment comes about three months after two angel investor groups in Virginia announced they were putting money into The Shed.

The investor groups — 757 Angels, a group of more than 130 investors in the Hampton Roads region, and Charlottesville Angel Network, which has about 70 investors — announced that deal in February.

O’Neil said the Silver Falcon Capital investment is “significantly larger” than the angel round.

Silver Falcon Capital also has backed one other Richmond-area startup company. In January, it announced an investment for an undisclosed amount in Navy Hill Soda + Tonic, a maker of lower-calorie cocktail mixers founded in 2017 by friends Katie Williams, Jenny Lucas and Amanda Coulbourn.

“We’re always looking for forward-thinking, innovative, next generation ideas,” said Austin Tate, president of Silver Falcon Capital.

He said The Shed offers an opportunity for product manufacturers to reach customers that might not otherwise be able to buy their products, such as someone who lives in an apartment without space for recreational equipment but who might be interested in renting a kayak, or a couple who has downsized their home and doesn’t keep a ladder in their garage but might need to rent one.

“We really like that [The Shed] is opening up a new shopping channel,” Tate said. “It is a new channel of retail. It services a lot of needs.”