Collaborative Economy Industry News, Jan 30, 2015


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.

Big Brands Embrace Crowdsourcing Creativity: Even creativity can be crowdsourced. Big brands have traditionally relied either on in-house creative departments or advertising agencies. As the Collaborative Economy has blossomed, established brands, like Doritos, have realized that good is not as good as best, and that the best ideas may not have been seen or heard. The “mind of the customer” has been a mainstay in product development and customer service. Now it is being considered an integral part of advertising for a growing number of companies. Access to creative freelancers is now being facilitated by startups like Talenthouse, Tongal and Quicksilver. To learn more about how this new sector of sharing is growing check out this story from the LA Times.

Airbnb’s Growth Is Impressive, But Still Limited: Awareness of Airbnb alone has grown so quickly that its listings more than tripled to about one million in 2014. On the traveller side, the collaborative startup is on the verge of outpacing all established temporary lodging brands in terms of number of bookings. The irony is that corporate travel accounts for a mere 10% of those bookings and analysts don’t foresee any significant change in the near future. According to the latest statistics from the American Hotel & Lodging Association, 41% of occupants are business travellers, while 59% are leisure. However, business travellers pay an average of 16% more per night. To understand more fully why Barclays lauds Airbnb’s success on one hand, but, on the other hand, believes that it will never be a “major player” for business travellers, read this article in TravelPulse.

Uber Raises Another $1.6 Billion via Debt Financing: According to the NY Times Dealbook, Goldman Sachs has confirmed that it has completed a $1.6 billion funding package for Uber, bringing its current market valuation to $41.2 billion, one of the largest valuations of all time for a private startup. This funding package is in the form of securities which can be converted to 20% to 30% discounted shares if Uber goes public, an indication that it may not be long before the company announces plans for an IPO. Read the NY Times story here.

Intuit and Stripe Collaborate to Benefit Freelancers: A typical Lyft driver has no back office staff. That means no accounting department, no expense tracking, no bookkeeping and, possibly, some lack of understanding about how to best report income taxes. It makes sense that the company that offers QuickBooks (Intuit) would partner with a financial startup (Stripe) that processes payments. In fact, Intuit, a member of Catalyst Companies, is now offering QuickBooks for free to people who work for startups that use Stripe payment services. As funds are transferred through Stripe they are recorded in QuickBooks so that the contractor can accurately ascertain how to handle his taxes and other financial data. For more information, read this article in TechCrunch.

ARM Technology Is Powering the Maker Movement and the IoT: ARM Holdings (LSE:ARM) is one of the biggest companies you have never heard of. It designs microprocessors, physical IP, and related technology and software. The company doesn’t make anything. But, if you own any type of mobile or wearable device that is connected to the IoT, it is almost certain that ARM IP is powering it. Because ARM’s low-power, high-yield designs are so pervasive, and because so much of the Maker Movement is tied to the IoT, it is fair to say that the Maker Movement would not exist to the extent that it does, nor could it grow to the potential that it has, were it not for ARM. To gain a deeper understanding, read this story at Chip Design magazine.

Uber’s Kalanick Looks to Create Jobs and Reduce Traffic: Speaking to the Digital Life Design conference in Munich recently, Uber founder, Travis Kalanick, declared that 2015 would be the year for establishing a new sense of partnership with European cities. He wants that partnership to lead to “progressive regulation” that makes it easier for Uber to compete on a level field with traditional, entrenched transportation services. He believes that doing so could lead to the creation of 50,000 jobs and eliminate traffic congestion by taking 400,000 cars off the roads. He discussed his vision in an article on the re/code website.

Report Sees U.S. as Least Receptive to Sharing Economy: A recent Nielsen survey revealed that, while people in the Asia-Pacific region are very willing to rent (81%) or loan (78%) personal property in the sharing economy, consumers in the U.S. are much less likely to do so (52% and 43%, respectively). In fact three out of four Americans claimed that they have never heard of the terms “sharing economy,” “conscious consumption” or “mesh economy.” The concept of owning personal property continues to be at the foundation of the American economy. For more insights, read this report in Triple Pundit.

VP of MasterCard Asks the Big Question About the Collaborative Economy: Marcy Cohen, Vice President of MasterCard (a member of Catalyst Companies) recently asked if the Collaborative Economy is the solution to improving the state of the world economy and improving the social good. She posed the question to provoke thought in advance of the meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. While she sees the big picture, she also shared how she personally used Etsy to find a pair of bedazzled bowling shoes. Her post on Social Media Today is available here.

Catalyst Companies Publishes Update on Industry Stats: As part of on-going research and analytics, Catalyst Companies sharing several spreadsheets that document everything from funding to a timeline of known major brand collaborations with startups. Jeremiah Owyang, Chief Catalyst at Catalyst Companies, said, “In the spirit of transparency and sharing, we openly share this data with the open market.” More details are available at Jeremiah’s Web Strategist blog.

Image by Nuagedenuit used under Creative Commons license.



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