5 companies leading the collaborative economy

Every week we bring you the FreshMinds Friday picks – ideas to help you make the most of digital technologies and understand how they are helping brands to grow and innovate. This week we’re looking at 5 great companies in the collaborative economy including Airbnb, Wish Want Wear, TaskRabbit, Pley, and KitchenSurfing. The collaborative economy sees consumers sharing goods and services from one another, either directly or via a third party. There is some confusion over the difference between terms like the Sharing Economy and  Collaborative Consumption – check out this excellent explanation of the differences from Rachel Botsman on Slideshare.

1. TaskRabbit

With the strapline ‘every superhero needs a sidekick’ TaskRabbit lets you find ‘Taskers’ in your local area to help you get things done. There are currently four types of Taskers – cleaner, handyman, personal assistant, and errands – each of which offers specific subcategories and hourly rates depending on the task in hand. Whereas TaskRabbit is more home and personal use based, PeopleperHour offers professional services on an hourly rate – such as typing and data entry, design services or copywriting. This more flexible approach to providing services has the potential to challenge the way many existing business models operate.

2. Wish Want Wear

In effect Wish Want Wear is a dress agency for the Twenty-First century – the service allows you to hire designer clothes and accessories for a limited period, making luxury items available to a broader demographic of consumers. For longer loans Fashion Hire lets you rent handbags, such as Chanel’s 2.55, by the month.

3. Pley

Proving that the collaborative economy has something for all ages is Pley. This company lets you rent Lego sets which you can keep for as long as you like. If your kids can’t bear to part with them, you can even buy them from the company at a discounted rate.

4. KitchenSurfing

Not yet in the UK  but I’m sure it’s only an amount of time before it springs up in the capital – KitchenSurfing helps connect an online community of chefs with people hosting parties and other events at home. You book a chef, pay them a fixed amount per head and enjoy the results! The experience is customisable and offers flexibility to both the chefs and their clients. Similarly, Feastly (again not yet in the UK) lets you enjoy ‘authentic food in local homes’. Unlike Kitchensurfing all the cooks are amateurs and the customer goes to their house (rather than the other way around.)

5. Airbnb

We couldn’t write a post about the collaborative economy without mentioning Airbnb.  The company lets property owners rent out their properties to holiday makers, and allows holiday makers find a place to stay (usually at a more affordable rate than traditional hotels) in some of the best locations in the world. Taking a booking every 2 seconds, Airbnb has been the poster child of the collaborative economy movement. Its huge success should act as a reminder to more established brands that the collaborative economy is proving popular with consumers and should not be underestimated. To protect market share, big brands could do well to take inspiration from the business models succeeding in the collaborative economy.