Collaborative Economy Market Update, July 20, 2015

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Hillary Clinton Addresses the Gig Economy: Hillary Clinton thrust the collaborative economy into the political spotlight during her speech at the New School in Manhattan on July 13, 2015. She said that, “This on-demand or so called ‘gig economy’ is creating exciting opportunities and unleashing innovation, but it is also raising hard questions about workplace protections and what a good job will look like in the future.” While she used the platform to declare herself as the “small business president,” she also said that she would “crack down on bosses who exploit employees by misclassifying them,” which could be taken as somewhat anti-sharing economy, as noted by Fortune. In context, her speech was about promoting an economy of fairness to all involved. Read more at Mashable.

Expert Says Collaborative Economy Benefits Below Median Wage Earners Most: Professor Arun Sundararajan addressed a Congressional caucus on the sharing economy in May 2015, describing it, in part, as a “better and sometimes more efficient access, deployment, and use of capital, of labor and of assets.” Two months earlier, in conjunction with Getaround, he had noted that, “the percentage surplus gains enjoyed by below-median income consumers are significantly higher than those enjoyed by above-median income consumers.” Because of this dynamic, John Kartch added in a Forbes magazine article that, “The sharing economy has facilitated the innate American tendency toward entrepreneurship and independence. It is helping Americans pay their bills and lead more balanced lives. It is allowing Americans to pursue happiness on their own terms. Politicians…should stay out of the way.”

Collaborative Economy Business Funding Continues to Skyrocket: The sharing economy has taken the world by storm, and it is evidenced, not only in the success of on-demand concepts, but also by their success in raising cash. Funding has now passed $16 billion, with Airbnb raising $1.5 billion in June and Postmates adding another $80 million to the total funding stack. And it’s not just happening in the U.S. – It’s a global phenomenon. In China, Xiaozhu.com, a technology company linking vacant homes with potential renters, a la Airbnb, recently raised $60 million. Another mainland China company, Didi Kuaidi, just added another $2 billion to its coffers. Keep pace with sharing economy funding by using Catalyst Companies’ detailed, online Collaborative Economy Funding spreadsheet.

Nimber Has Reinvented Collaborative Delivery: Unlike BlaBlaCar and other ride and delivery hailing services, Nimber approaches the sharing concept with a more flexible approach. The Norwegian-based company has now expanded into the UK and is prepared to go far beyond. The company that bills itself as “a social delivery service where you save the environment, make money and do something nice for other people,” matches Senders and Bringers. Senders post online what they need to send and where they need to send it. Bringers browse independently to see if they can help, but their profile also shares their normal trip routes. What is unique is that Bringers may not even need a car. They may only need a pocket or a pet carrier. The service has connected Senders and Bringers to deliver furniture, food, art, antiques and cats. To learn more about Nimber’s business model and growth, read their story in The Guardian.

Time to Meet Your Maker: It’s not as ominous as it sounds. It was not all that long ago that the White House held its first Maker Faire. Last month, the Congressional Maker Caucus followed suit by hosting the first Capital Hill Maker Faire in conjunction with the National Week of Making, June 12th through 18th. The objective of the caucus was to raise awareness of the Maker Movement, especially as it relates to its promotion in and through school libraries. Providing positive insight for the unaware and the skeptical, Tim Carrigan, the Senior Library Program Officer at the DC-based Institute of Museum and Library Services emphasized that, “Libraries have long been a place that democratized knowledge and content. This is the next step in that evolution, as we move from a society that emphasizes consumption of knowledge to the co-creation and production of knowledge.” To learn more about the faire and “The Rise of the Makers,” read the complete story in the Library Journal.

It’s Not All Bad News in Baltimore: The city of Baltimore has endured more than its fair share of bad publicity lately, but the collaborative economy concept may be about to turn that around. Baltimore Heritage, Housing Policy Watch, and the city’s urban planning department have begun an initiative to transform 35 abandoned and dilapidated business buildings into shared work spaces with an emphasis on incubating multiple, locally-owned maker businesses in large, vacant buildings. The groups envision the reclaimed buildings as venues for providing jobs that match the city’s workforce. To learn more about this cooperative revitalization of Baltimore and how not-for-profit businesses are lending their support, read the article in CityLab.

Ford Launches GoDrive in London: Time magazine calls Ford’s GoDrive a “Zipcar killer.” It would be difficult to believe that Ford would look at $6 billion car-sharing industry without readily realizing that they are well positioned to carve out a piece of the pie for themselves. (We call that “being resilient.”) The GoDrive pilot program includes 50 cars that can be booked to be picked up at one location and dropped off at another where the parking space is automatically reserved at the time of the reservation. The highly flexible, sharing service requires membership and charges by the minute. Half of the fleet will consist of Focus electric models. Read more at Time.

Image from Wikipedia used under Creative Commons license.

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