Collaborative Economy Industry News, Oct 15, 2014


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Uber Drivers to Protest on October 22nd
While Uber is trying to make life better for the public at large, the newly-formed California App-Based Drivers Association is joining with Teamsters Local 986 to tell Uber that they are more than just the “Dude in the Front Seat.” The drivers, who willingly entered into a relationship with Uber at some point, now want to share their opinions on how the company should be run as one voice. The protest is scheduled to be held at the site of Uber Technologies in Santa Monica. The drivers’ argument is, essentially, that Uber has no skin in the game, profiting without sharing the risks. Read more.

Crowdfunding is Raising $2 Million per Day
In case $2 million per day doesn’t get your attention, that breaks down to $87,000 per hour. An average of 50,000 pledges were made per day during April, May and June 2014. That’s 5 million pledges for that three-month period. And it shows no sign of slowing down. Aside from leaders like Kickstarter, Indiegogo and GoFundMe, the concept of much larger scale equity funding is rapidly gaining popularity. Funding these types of projects is often handcuffed by federal regulations requiring “accredited investors,” essentially those with more than a million dollars in net worth. Proposed legislation from 2012 that will allow unaccredited investors to participate in large, crowd-funded projects has yet to reach fruition. When it does, we should expect to see the floodgates open and begin to experience the real financial power of the crowd. Read more.

TechShop Enables Aspiring Makers
There is no doubt that there is a Maker Movement and that it is growing. But there are also people with ideas who don’t have or can’t afford the tools, equipment or technology to turn their ideas into reality. The beauty of TechShop is that it extends the sharing part of the Maker Movement to anyone with a credible idea. Anyone is welcome to become a TechShop member and to share their facilities and equipment to make their ideas become reality. Anyone with an idea can reserve need items from a long list available items from 3D printers to milling machines. Workshops, meetups and training sessions enable dreamers to learn how to become successful makers. It’s all about making the Maker Movement meaningful for everyone. It’s called sharing. Read more.

SurfAir Partners with Uber to Disrupt the Skies
The LA-SF corridor is the perfect incubator for SurfAir, sometimes referred to as the Uber of the skies. The company’s fleet of seven-passenger planes offer on-demand seating from an available app via both scheduled and chartered flights and times. Because of the size of the planes and the style of service, the convenience of these direct flights extends well beyond the flights themselves. They are not subject to TSA inspections, nor are there long lines or waits at airports located in the exburbs. While the terminal locations may sound problematic for arrival at your destination city, SurfAir’s partnership with Uber guarantees that your ride to your business meeting is ready when you are. LA businessmen are now booking meetings in SF in the a.m., getting to their meetings on time, and returning home in time for dinner. Read more.

Smart City, Sharing City or Both?
Julian Agyeman, Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University, suggests that it is time for everyone to take a step back to re-envision the sharing economy before it degenerates into a economic monolith of its own. While cities and startups are employing smart technology, there is a growing concern that “sharing” is beginning to spawn a class of elite entrepreneurs. In the case of Airbnb, there are now known cases of wealthy individuals who are buying up properties and setting them up as Airbnb rentals, not primarily for sharing, but for accumulating wealth. Agyeman envisions a purer, municipally-sponsored form of sharing where cities meet people’s needs “at the intersection of urban space and cyberspace.” He cites programs like Freecycle that “rescues” unwanted, but usable items from being buried in landfills, and repair cafes where people donate their mechanical and other skills to help out their neighbors in need the old-fashioned way – by sharing. Read more.

CityLab 2014 Discusses the Sharing/Collaborative Economy
When CityLab 2014 convened in LA at the end of September, April Rinne noticed a dynamic increase in discussions centered on, or related to, the collaborative economy. She reflected back on 2013, feeling that she was then “the only one waving the flag.” This year, however, names like Uber, Lyft and Airbnb seemed to filter into every conversation. Brian Chesky of Airbnb emphasized the positive effects that his company has been having worldwide. Building on the fact that one-fifth of the visitors to Brazil during the World Cup used Airbnb for their temporary lodging needs, NYU professor, Arun Sundararajan, suggested that cities embrace the sharing economy to create “an invisible infrastructure.” Airbnb already has a disaster response service whereby property owners can have their homes available within 30 minutes. Read more.


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