Why There’s An ‘Airbnb’ for Just About Anything
Business + Economy

Why There’s An ‘Airbnb’ for Just About Anything

The sharing economy is reaching into every corner of our lives.  

flickr/Effie Yang

The success of Airbnb and Uber has unveiled dozens of startups hoping to cash in on the sharing economy, a.k.a. collaborative consumption.

There’s now an Airbnb (and an Uber) for almost everything, as new startups are simply copying Airbnb’s or Uber’s formula while focusing on different products.

Airbnb, which allows people from all over the world to rent their homes to travelers, has been valued at about $10 billion, following a $475 million round of financing in April. Meanwhile, car-sharing company Uber was valued at about $17 billion last month.

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“The revolutionary power of Airbnb and Uber comes from their ability to harness technology to create a social sharing platform that facilitates trust by creating transparency and dual accountability,” wrote Barbara Gray, an analyst with Brady Capital Research, in a post last month.

At the sight of such valuations, programmers and entrepreneurs from Silicon Alley to Silicon Valley have dollar signs in their eyes, hoping they, too, can take advantage of the trend.

Here are a few examples based on the Airbnb model:

Here are few examples based on the Uber model:

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While not all of these startups will achieve multi-billion valuations, of course, many experts believe there’s plenty of room for several more social sharing sites.

“I have no doubt that the social economy will transform how we travel, live, work, play, and consume,” continued Gray. “And just as the democratization of content led to structural disruption in media-related sectors over the past decade, the emerging democratization of goods and services by social sharing companies will lead to structural disruption over a much wider range of sectors.”

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