Collaborative Economy Market Update, May 22nd, 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.

Lyft Gets a $100M Lift from Tibbens and Icahn: On May 9th, Lyft announced that former Amazon executive, Rex Tibbens had joined the company as COO. The man who led the development of Amazon’s Prime Now one-hour delivery service is sure to give Lyft a boost. Nine days later, Lyft revealed that Carl Icahn had invested $100 million in the company, bringing Lyft’s total funding stack to more than $860 million. The company put some perspective on the news, saying, “What some forget is that just two and a half years ago, Lyft was an experiment. An experiment that challenged the transportation status quo and tapped into the core of humanity.”More information is available at Circa News.

Sharing Economy Caucus Created in Congress: Americans increasingly rely on the sorts of innovative services the internet has made possible – services that bring Americans together while providing a new measure of convenience by providing opportunities to conduct business in more efficient ways. The Sharing Economy Caucus will focus on these pioneering industries and ensure Congress is taking all of the necessary steps to facilitate, rather than hinder, the next great idea.” Those are the words of Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) as he announced the establishment of a bipartisan Sharing Economy Caucus sponsored together with Eric Swalwell (D-CA). Check the report in Forbes to learn more and see important insights from other Collaborative Economy insiders.

Staggering Statistics of Uber’s Growth: Articles that follow headlines like that usually focus on funding and valuation. This one is about where the rubber meets the road. The statistics are simply staggering. A recent study has revealed that Uber’s overall market share more than tripled in Q1 2015 compared to Q1 2014, from a 15% share to 46%. The research was reported on a city-by-city basis, indicating in each the growth of Uber and its impact on the taxi business. Washington, DC, is a telling example. In Q1 2014, the split was 80% for taxis and 20% for Uber. Twelve months late the split was 51% for taxis and 49% for Uber. Check the original story in the Washington Post to see the incredible impact of Uber in major U.S. cities.

New Sharing Markets Create More than New Customers: They even create more than new jobs. They created new opportunities. Some of the opportunities they create are in what would seem to be unrelated fields. Take Shannon Liss-Riordan, for instance. She is a Boston attorney whose entire career has been focused on worker misclassification lawsuits. Typically that involves companies that purposely classify employees as independent contractors in order to above paying benefits. The rise of the sharing economy has transformed her from attorney to über-attorney. That’s über with a lowercase “u” and an umlaut. Her career is taking her everywhere that freelancers are used to ensure that contractors operate within the law. To read more about her story, visit

Collaboration Thrives on Mutual Benefits: It always has. It always will. It is the concept upon which the Collaborative Economy was established. Everyone who participates receives some kind of benefit. However, as our own Jeremiah Owyang pointed out in an article for Fast Company, the growing businesses in the Collaborative Economy are going to need to remember who made them successful, lest they turn too much attention making more money. They have got to maintain social responsibility to the communities in which they operate and for the people to whom they provide services. Owyang uses the example of how Etsy is attempting to share its success with its creators and users. Read the article in Fast Company to learn more about this critical insight.

Airbnb Accused of Exacerbating San Francisco Housing Woes: San Francisco Board Supervisor, David Campos, recently claimed in a news conference that Airbnb is a “significant contributor to the housing shortage” in the City by the Bay. Respected economist, Arun Sundararajan, responded that “Any sort of creative disruption tends to have winners and losers. I just don’t see a scenario in this case where the losses are going to outweigh the wins.” The ability to be an Airbnb host can sometimes be the difference between being able to pay the rent or not. Ironically, that’s exactly why Airbnb came to exists. Read the story in Time to learn more.

Collaborative Economy Challenges Consumer Trust: Brand-e recently summarized a report from PwC on the state of the Collaborative Economy. It was interesting to note that almost 20% of all U.S. consumers have participated in some way in the sharing economy. Although nearly 60% of those, although interested, have voice reservations and concerns. Most of those concerns relate to trust issues. That becomes a problem at a time when people are indicating that they are less likely to trust strangers than they have in the past. It has become clear that providers need to find ways to add a trust element to their platforms. The PwC report concluded that “Identifying, and upholding, quality and trust metrics will be critical to success in this evolving model.” The entire report, much of it in infographic format, is available at PwC.

Image by Ben Grey used under Creative Commons license.


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