Collaborative Economy Industry News, Dec 1, 2014


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.

The Uber Dilemma
Ride-sharing’s top dog, Uber, has been getting a lot of bad press lately. What should we expect when a disruptive company disrupts? Uber is the best at what it does. It’s the best because its leadership determined from the beginning that it would be. That determination has driven (no pun intended) the company to unprecedented success in its space. Despite the valuable and customer-friendly service that Uber provides, its detractors keep kicking the tires and lifting up the hood for everyone to see what’s inside – things like researching the competition and the execs criticized for sexism. As a company, Uber is not doing anything that its forebearers have not already done. Despite the sour-grape-motivated finger pointing, Uber’s success is unmitigated. Read more.

British See Public Sector Potential for Sharing
On 26 November the British government released a report entitled Unlocking the Sharing Economy. The independent report was authored by Debbie Wosskow with a Foreward by Rt Hon Matthew Hancock MP and Minister of State for Business, Enterprise and Energy. Ms. Wosskow is the CEO of LoveHomeSwap and the founder of Collaborative Consumption Europe. The report explores the potential of expanding the concept of shared back-office services across seven municipalities, such as those already in place in the London boroughs of Newham and Havering. Sir Richard Branson noted that “The UK has an opportunity to be a leading example in the international Sharing Economy market, and today’s recommendations are a very sensible step towards this.” Read more.

What Venture Capitalists Look for When Funding Startups
Investor and entrepreneur, Simon Rothman, discussed some of his investment strategies recently at the Harvard Business School. A backer of the dine-on-demand service, Sprig, he confirmed that “the most important criterion to make investment decisions is the potential of the startup to disrupt the status-quo.” Although he favors ideas built on simplicity, he also noted that a plethora of potential regulations may signal more of an opportunity than the obstacles they first appear to be. To understand why he says that, read more about his lecture here.

USAID Reaches Out to Maker Movement to Help Fight Ebola
Several startups and a group of students from Columbia University met recently at the request of USAIDS and the CDC in the nation’s capital. They had been invited to submit innovative ideas that could be used in the effort to prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus. Items presented for consideration included improved protective suits, clothing that cools healthcare workers in the extreme African heat, and a wristwatch-like device that, placed against a patient’s thorax, immediately registers relevant vital signs. Each of the individual innovations are meritorious on their own, but when integrated for a holistic collaboration, the synergies are extraordinary. Read more.

Getaround and Fiat Get Together
When the Beach Boys recorded “I Get Around” in 1964, they had no idea what Getaround would mean 50 years later. The successful San Francisco-based rideshare service connects car owners with renters who need a vehicle by the day or by the hour. Understanding its disruptive nature, Getaround has sought to engender collaborative relationships with traditional automotive sector companies, like Cox Publications, the publisher of Kelley Blue Book and AutoTrader, which helped to fund the startup. Getaround has now partnered with Fiat in an ingenious promotion to sell more cars and for the buyers of those cars to utilize them in the sharing economy. How do they do that? Read more.

Hosts from Around the Globe Attend Airbnb Expo
More than 1,500 Airbnb hosts from 40 different countries attended a three-day, company expo at Fort Mason before Thanksgiving. The event was a microcosm (albeit a large one) of how Airbnb operates. Even the event site, which bills itself as a place that “engages and connects people” to “inspire and foster creativity” was true to the mission of Airbnb. Perhaps even more impressive than the training offered by some of Airbnb’s top hosts, was the fact that the attendees spent the third and final day of the experience volunteering together in community service projects. By the way, have you ever wondered how Airbnb got its name? Read more.

The Columbus Idea Foundry
With over 65,000 square feet of occupied space and 13 resident member entrepreneurs, the Columbus Idea Foundry may be the single, largest community makerspace in the world. Not only is Alex Bander’s collaborative maker company successful on its own, it has been instrumental in helping “to raise, directly or indirectly, about half a million dollars for half a dozen companies in central Ohio that have had good ideas, ran Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaigns, and made their companies real.” One example of the Foundry’s success is Knockout Concepts, a 3D scanning company birthed in the community makerspace, but now walking on its own. Read more.

Lumoid Locals Enters the Internet of Things
Lumoid Locals, the brainchild of Aarthi Ramamurthy is one of the latest San Francisco sharing economy startups. Opening for business just prior to the Christmas shopping frenzy, the new venture provides a sharing service for gadgets from cameras to drones. As a pioneer in this particular space, it may take awhile for Lumoid to find its niche and its best practices. Our own Jeremiah Owyang, one of the highest-profile promoters of the Collaborative Economy, noted that “Sharing of personal electronics will . . . be feasible if the goods are durable and can easily be transferred to others without risk of privacy leakages.” Lumoid has some great upside potential as people begin to recognize that, in addition to renting a product they would otherwise own but use infrequently, much like consumers have done with car companies, the service can be used to “drive before you buy,” allowing a shopper to try a product that they are considering before purchasing. Read more.


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