I was interviewed yesterday by Fast Company for an upcoming article they are doing on collaborative consumption, the broad category of companies that facilitate multiple users sharing an item. I’ve realised that pretty much every company in the category can be slotted into a simple formulaic sentence that goes as follows:
Why spend “PRICE” buying your own “PRODUCT” that you’re only going to use 15 days a year? If you use “COMPANY” you’ll pay a fraction of that, we’ll pool the money, and our company will mange that asset so that everyone gets their fair share.
That formula has been addressed by a myriad of companies, running the price gamut from top to bottom. Some well known examples include:
PRICE PRODUCT COMPANY
$40,000,000 Gulfstream 650 NetJet
$4,000,000 Vacation House Quintess
$40,000 Toyota Prius ZipCar
$40 DVD box set Netflix
A parallel category includes the peer-to-peer enablers (such as poster child AirBnB) in which the item (with it’s attendant excess capacity) is owned by an individual. In this case the company’s role is to faciliate others using this capacity. While AirBnB is doing this for housing and Getaround is doing this for Cars, a number of other companies, including Snapgoods, Share Some Sugar and NeighborGoods have sprung up to enable sharing of the most mundane objects from Power Tools to Blenders.
I’ve been working with a very sharp CEO (Tim Hyer) whose company RentCycle actually started out as a peer-to-peer renter but has recently pivoted back toward working with more conventional rental companies.
In any event, this is clearly a category to watch.