Mine, yours, ours: The loom of a new sharing economy
From leasing residences, to sharing rides, to clubbing together to finance creative projects, sharing has become increasingly popular in today's economies worldwide and has recently been used to spur innovative business models and generate considerable amounts of revenue. A research done by Roland Berger strategy consultants suggests that this specific sharing economy is going to further preside throughout the upcoming years.
The Uber company - which offers ride-sharing services - originating from California and now operating in more than 30 cities worldwide, is now valued at $18 billion. Airbnb, the service that allows people to lease residences, has more than 800,000 entries in more than 192 countries and is valued at approximately $10 billion. Finally, Kickstarter, a large and global crowdfunding platform for creative projects (such as movies, games, music albums and other projects) has an estimated valuation of $1 billion.
This 'swapping' economy is largely owing to the technological innovations that have been happening in the past decade relating to communication, specifically in how they have faciliateted and completely changed human and other communications. In fact, all facets of our lives now seem to be dominated by online communication. The world is progressively being transformed into one global network. Humans, devices and programs are continually interlinked and exchange information in realtime as if the world was one compressed little community.
Prospects in this new sharing economy have already become visible, as per some of the aforementioned examples, with the majority of them relating to mobility. Moreover, young new entrepreneurs have been generating original and innovative ideas relating to this sharing economy incessantly. Some more examples of companies taking advantage of this economy are the following: swap.com, zopa, Bcycle, CouchSurfing, BookMunch, ZiLok.com, carpooling.com and zipcar.