Coke, Zirtual, & Hyatt: This Week’s Collaborative Economy Big 3

15715685864_1b4f2cba12_z Welcome, this industry newsletter shares key market changes, in a twice-monthly publication, curated by Jeremiah Owyang, Founder of Catalyst Companies™, you can subscribe to the email newsletter on the footer of the homepage.

Coca-Cola Urges Consumers to “Share a Coke” and a Ride with UberPool: Coca-Cola teamed up with Uber in early August to offer free cans of Coke to NYC’s UberPool ridesharers as part of the beverage conglomerate’s “Share a Coke” marketing campaign. UberPool riders were given free rides and custom cans of Coke during the late afternoon and evening hours of their Friday commute within city limits. UberPool already offers a unique social experience to its carpoolers, and its partnership with Coke was additional fuel for creating positive brand experiences. Coke delivered happiness, and Uber also won – sharing the spotlight from Coke’s surrounding PR campaign. Get additional details from Uber.

Personal Assistant Service Zirtual Abruptly Shuts Down, Announces Acquisition: Zirtual fired 400 employees via email and ceased operations last Monday as a result of “burning more cash than it was taking in,” according to its CEO Maren Kate Donovan. This was, in part, due to the company’s recent hiring spree on the West Coast as well as the increased costs incurred from converting its workers from contractors to employees with benefits. Other Collaborative Economy startups like Instacart are likely taking note, as they have also shifted workers to W2 employment status in recent months. Two days following Zirtual’s shutdown, however, it announced a planned acquisition by Startups.co, which plans to relaunch the service and give previous Zirtual employees the opportunity to re-apply. Read more on CNN, and join the discussion on full-time employment vs. independent contractor status on my Facebook feed.

Hyatt Partners with OneFineStay to Better Accommodate Travelers: As part of a nearly $40 million round of funding, Hyatt Hotels Corp. invested in OneFineStay to enable travelers to rent upscale, private homes in London, New York, Los Angeles and Paris. Hyatt’s investment in OneFineStay signals its commitment to the Collaborative Economy by partnering with, rather than competing against, an existing hospitality marketplace to create better customer experiences. The two companies are currently collaborating on a pilot at the Hyatt Regency, London, to accommodate travelers who are awaiting the availability of their vacation rentals. What could this spell in the future? Imagine if OneFineStay properties used Hyatt furniture, cleaning services, room service delivery, and more. This is just the start of a potentially deeper partnership. OneFineStay manages more than 2,500 homes worth a combined $5 billion. You can find more analysis at Skift.

Image from SoxFanInSD used under Creative Commons license.

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