December 29, 2014 Comments Off on ‘Tis the Season for Gifting
In the collaborative economy, there’s a subset called the gifting economy, a mode of exchange where things are not sold but given. In simplest form, it’s the arrangement for the exchange of goods or services without expecting anything in the return. It’s a concept that’s slowly catching on. In the US, Philadelphia-based web designer Adrian Hoppel made news when he stopped charging his clients and instead began to operate within the “gift economy.” This means payments are based on mutual respect and trust: Adrian builds quality websites for his clients and they in return pay him an amount they believe is fair. Trust, not money, became the medium of exchange. UK-based model Lily Cohen set up a non-profit called Impossible.com, a website and app that encourage people to do things for others for free. The site urges people to post wishes of things they need help with and in exchange, offer what they can give. The goal is to create a community that encourages giving and receiving. Gifting may not fix the problems of capitalism but it may help build a sense of community, where wealth and services are shared, and good deeds are passed from one person to the next.
November 27, 2014 Comments Off on Collaborative Consumption
What do Airbnb, Uber, Buzzcar, Birchbox, and Dollar Shave Club have in common? These companies are game-changers. They have moved into existing industries and transformed the landscape, achieving unimaginable degrees of loyalty from consumers. Unlike traditional companies, they build unique customer experiences, one that is enabled by collaboration and technology. These sites practice what they call collaborative consumption, which is purchasing services with another individual, not a company. According to MIT Sloan, the collaboration economy will grow to as big as $110 billion over the next few years and can transform the way we live, work and consume. With such a promising forecast, venture have continued to place bets on companies like Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, BlaBlaCar, and other players.
One company that has attracted the attention of investors this week is Roomer. Israel-based Roomer has found an interesting niche in the hospitality space as it positions itself as the Airbnb for unwanted hotel rooms. The hotel booking site allows travellers to sell non-refundable hotel reservations that they no longer want to other travellers at a discounted rate. The startup has received $5 million Series A, an early indication that there’s a market for unwanted hotel reservations. You can read about the funding here.
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