A Glance at 5 of the Pioneers in the Sharing Economy

Airbnb

This travel lodging service is arguably the most prominent of household names in the sharing economy. Founded in 2008 in San Francisco California, by Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk, Airbnb creates a platform for people to rent out their homes to travelers, thus giving the would-be lodgers a unique, exhilarating and creative experience, at affordable prices.

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.

Recently, Airbnb was a beneficiary of arguably one of the biggest private-funding moves ever, with about $1.5 billion raised in a deal which has increased the company’s value to $25.5 billion.

Zipcar

This car-sharing company of American origin was founded in 1999, by Antje Danielson and Robin Chase. From calculations made…Zipcar has stated that a single car from their fleet replaces 15 private cars. As it stands, Zipcar has a whopping 1.7 million car-sharing registered members in 27 countries. And recently, it was acquired by Avis Budget Group for the sum of $500 million.

Uber

This global taxi service is arguably the biggest taxi service in the world, and the biggest player in the sharing economy, only second to Airbnb. It was launched in 2010 in San Francisco California, by Travis Kilnwick and Garrett Camp. It began as a black car service, before adding compact cars and SUVs to its fleet of cars. With a presence in 25 countries, Uber develops, markets and operates its mobile app. The Uber app allows customers with smartphones to submit their request for intended trips. The software program embedded in the app automatically communicates the location of the customer to the nearest Uber driver, and they eventually meet up. The Uber drivers make use of their personal cars, and are paid weekly via direct deposit.

Getaround

This is a peer-to-peer car sharing company that was founded by Sam Zaid, Jessica Scorpio, and Elliot Kroo, in 2009, also in San Francisco. It allows for people to lend their cars to those who need it, on a per hour charge basis. The owners get 60% commission of the rental fees. For owners leaving town, they are allowed to drop their cars with Getaround who would in turn rent them out, clean them, and take care of them too. Berkshire Hathaway Insurance covers the cars with $1 million insurance policy.

TaskRabbit

Founded in 2008 by Leah Busque, this online and mobile market matches freelance labor with demands made for such labor services as indicated. TaskRabbit is a major player in the sharing economy, as it connects lots of people in need of labor to take care of chores, with those willing to do these chores. The users input their information about the task to be done, as well as a pick-up date and a time frame for the completion of the task. Then select a person from a list people who are willing to do the task. From house cleaning, to even standing in the queue for someone, who wants to purchase a hot-on-demand item, TaskRabbit handles them all. The laborers are called Taskers. And about 15% of them earn as much as $7000 per month.

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