October 30, 2014

A New Face of Convenience

The sharing economy seems to be a hot topic as of late especially with all the controversial buzz over companies like Uber and Airbnb. Right now, we are seeing a major cultural shift towards lending, borrowing, and working together within the community to tap into underused resources. New business models and entrepreneurial causes are working to change how we live, work, and play, by keeping things personalized, sustainable, transparent, and making the economy work in our favor.

video via Share Better

As some places throughout Europe and the US seek to regulate apartment and car sharing services, it is actually urban areas and the growth of cities that are fueling the demand for services like house swapping, car hiring, home delivery, skill sharing, and collaborative work spaces. Despite, elected officials, housing activists, and hotel owners in NYC have launched a "Share Better" campaign to fight against Airbnb's success. Overall, there really isn't much we can't rent, borrow, or hire someone to do for us anymore and whether trying to enforce new laws will work or not, collaborative consumption is becoming universal to almost every industry.

photo via The Boston Globe

Which is why we'd like to introduce you to Dog Vacay, or as we like to say, Airbnb for dogs. This site helps you find a loving, caring, and cage free petsitter close to your neighborhood with rates starting at $25/day. Not to mention, you'll even receive a daily photo update to help ease the separation anxiety. These private accommodations are affordable, offer personalized attention, and give you, the owner, a piece of mind so you can actually relax while traveling.

video via fitmob

Looking for a way to stay motivated and fit outside of the gym scene? Meet the new platform fitmob that reinvents your fitness routine by creating group workouts that combine community, technology, and a good time. Based in San Francisco and the brainchild of Snapfish co-founder and entrepreneur Raj Kapoor, tech guru/martial arts champion Paul Twohey, and fitness expert Tony Horton, this social fitness experience has just enlisted a Mob Partner Program which incorporates top studio classes from across the Bay area. By adding an additional 50 workouts per week, including things like yoga, cycling, and cardio classes, this new program not only helps fill up studio classes, but gives fitmob the exposure it needs to really take off among fitness enthusiasts alike.

photo via Smithsonian

Another addition to this evolving we-commerce movement are lending libraries. To stay afloat, local libraries are reinventing themselves by expanding their inventories to include everything from musical instruments to telescopes to art and in doing so, it's sparking new non-profit businesses in the process.

photo via KUNC

There are over 50 active tool libraries operating in cities across the country where you can rent equipment for whatever your handy DIY project requires. In Denver, you'll soon be able to purchase an annual tool membership where you can borrow anything from box cutters to circular saws to welding tools. The non-profit initiative will launch sometime in early 2015 and is looking to open a workshop that people living in small apartments can utilize for projects.

photo via Springwise

In Canada, you can now borrow cooking equipment for up to five days via The Kitchen Library. This non-profit lending library works directly out of the Toronto Tool Library and is basically a new mecca for home chefs, offering things like mixers, juicers, pasta makers, and ice cream makers. Membership costs roughly $50 a year and includes access to various cooking and baking workshops as well. 

photo via TechCrunch

Google in conjunction with 12 college campuses across the US, has created a laptop focused lending program where students can temporarily check out Chromebooks for up to an entire day. They have set up multi-colored installations for three days at each campus throughout September and October, with more dates to follow. To check out which schools are on the list, click here.

photo via Fast Company

What it comes down to is, the current Millennial generation has been raised during an economic crisis and as a response, they have combined resources to create an alternative. By exchanging goods and services via online platforms and apps, we are breaking down the barriers of traditional businesses and forming a new, highly efficient industry that is centered around the individual and transparency.

Peer-to-peer businesses give everyone the chance to contribute something to society by universally challenging monetary transactions. And in doing so, these cost-effective and increasingly sustainable practices are creating entrepreneurial opportunities, new sources of income, and promoting people to collaborate together to establish trust within our society. It will be interesting to see how lawmakers handle such new businesses and we'll be watching to see how they enforce new regulations, especially right here in NYC.

With successful pioneers Airbnb and Uber recently announcing that they will soon be catering to businesses, today we'd like to leave you with a list of other collaborative startups you should check out from TechRepublic's list of 10 sharing economy underdogs you should know! Enjoy!

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