Six Amazing Pioneers of the Sharing Economy

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With the astronomical rise of Airbnb and Uber capturing the airwaves, it seems that the sharing economy is the top buzzword in global business circles.

Simply put, the sharing economy describes a type of business built on the premise of sharing of resources – allowing customers to access goods when needed. In other words, it represents a major paradigm shift from single ownership to collective use of resources.

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Read on and check out the 6 major pioneers of today’s sharing economy.


Industry: Peer-to-peer marketplace

Date founded: February 2008

Founded by: Leah Busque

TaskRabbit is a well-known player in the so-called ‘gig economy,’ in which it connects people who need chores done with those willing to complete them. Users enter information about the task at hand, pick a date and time slot to have it done, and select from a short list of people who are willing to do them.

Errands posted on TaskRabbit range from house cleaning, moving, delivering groceries, assembling IKEA furniture, and even waiting in line to buy the latest iPhone.

The service can be shockingly lucrative for the people performing errands (known as Taskers), with 10% to 15% of them earning up to $7,000 a month!


Industry: Carsharing

Date founded: 2009

Founded by: Jessica Scorpio (Director of Marketing), Sam Zaid (CEO), and Elliot Kroo (Director of Engineering)

Getaround is an online car renting and peer-to-peer carsharing service, kind of like Airbnb for cars. Through the service, drivers can rent cars from private car owners, or owners can rent out their cars for a payment. Owners set their rental prices and earn a 60% commission from the rental revenue.

Based in San Francisco, Getaround won TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield a few years ago and has since expanded its business to cities around the US including Austin, Chicago, and San Diego.

The company recently introduced the Getaround Connect, which utilizes GPS, WiFi and keyless remote technology to allow renters and owners to open and lock the car without a key.


Industry: Fashion E-Commerce

Date founded: February 2011

Founded by: Manish Chandra (CEO), Tracy Sun (VP Merchandising), Gautam Golwala (CTO), and Chetan Pungaliya (VP Engineering).

Poshmark is an e-commerce app that allows women to sell the contents of their closets second-hand to millions of users. With the company encouraging people to “Shop the closets of women across America and sell yours too!”, it has achieved phenomenal growth, bringing in $200 million in annual sales.

Though it faces some competitors, Poshmark differs from many of those sites in that it doesn’t act as middleman for the transactions that take place on its platform, allowing buyers and sellers connect with each other directly.

Today, there are more than 700,000 sellers on the platform, and buyers can expect around 10 million items for sale at any given point on Poshmark.


Industry: Peer-to-peer marketplace

Date founded: February 2011

Founded by: Bo Fishback (CEO), Ian Hunter (CTO), and Eric Koester

Zaarly is an app that allows users to discover and hire local service providers. If you need your house cleaned, need your lawn cared for, or require the services of a handyman, you can browse the list of service experts and buy the service you prefer.

Unlike fellow peer-to-peer marketplace competitors, Zaarly operates by allowing users to create storefronts rather than profiles. According to the company’s blog, Zaarly is dedicated to providing the resources necessary for every Zaarly Storefront owner to “build a sustainable business that meets… expectations for quality.”


Industry: Pet Care & Boarding

Date founded: March 2012

Founded by: Aaron Hirschhorn (CEO), Karine Nissim (co-founder).

DogVacay has been touted as the “Airbnb for dogs” since its initial year of operation, attracting over 400 dog sitters in its first month alone.

Through the app, hosts share information about themselves and their ability to take care of dogs while dog-owners can select from a list of hosts to find a place to board their pets at any price point. Similar to Airbnb, hosts and dog-owners both leave reviews after the dogs have been picked up.

What began as an overnight dog-sitting business on Craigslist now books more than 1 million nights a month, as the company looks to take a bigger bite out of the $12 billion pet care market.


Industry: Travel / Travel lodging

Date founded: August 2008

Founded by: Nathan Blecharczyk (CTO), Brian Chesky (CEO), and Joe Gebbia (CPO).

As the one of the undisputed kings of the sharing economy (a title it shares with car sharing service Uber), Airbnb is a service for people to rent out their homes for travelers, creating a distinctly exciting and innovative travel experience at various price points.

In 2014, Airbnb surpassed 800,000 listings worldwide, which means they now offer more lodging than Hilton Worldwide or InterContinental Hotels Group or any other hotel chain in the world.

Not surprisingly, Airbnb completed one of the biggest private-funding rounds ever, raising $1.5 billion in a deal that values the company at $25.5 billion.