Trendspotting: The Era of E-Sharing

10/10/12Follow @sramana

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have been expanding their customer base at a steady 15 percent per month rate since inception.

Home Swappers Club

Marie Janine Saris from Buenos Aires, Argentina, pitched Home Swappers Club at a free public roundtable in September, 2011. The company was founded in 2010; their concept is similar to Airbnb. Home Swappers Club allows renters and property owners to swap their homes across the globe. Down the line Marie wants to create a social network of home swappers with millions of members.

PartingOut

A slightly different spin on sharing, PartingOut was founded by Kevin Fullerton. Kevin is from Graham, TX. PartingOut is an online exchange for automobile aftermarket. Used auto parts are usually bought and sold in a very static online setting where there is no room for sharing and negotiating. Such a stiff setting makes the flow of the recycled goods slow and keeps it underutilized.

From this observation Kevin tried to impart flexibility into the process by setting up PartingOut. It provides a platform where people can walk through a virtual salvage yard, see the parts they want and tell the sellers “I see you have part X, and I am willing to pay $$ for it.” Then the seller has a qualified offer and it becomes easier for them to make a deal. This kind of communication is not possible in any of the current websites where used automobile parts are bought and sold.

PartingOut is a platform that supports real life deal flow in the virtual world. Kevin is a premium member of 1M/1M and has a deep understanding and domain knowledge of the “salvage” business, a highly specialized business.

ThredUP 

Kids grow fast; and parents have to replace almost new clothes with more new items because the older ones do not fit any more. Families spend huge money on this. ThredUP has the solution. They have come up with a business that buys like-new, reusable clothes for cash and puts them up for sale online. Only handpicked and quality certified clothes are resold.

Families can buy branded like-new clothes for kids and get cash for outgrown clothes as well. Apart from allowing families to save money, thredUP reduces the carbon footprint by recycling clothes wisely.

ThredUP was founded by Harvard Business School grad James Reinhart, Oliver Lublin, an alumni of Boston College, and Chris Homer, an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Each of the businesses mentioned here operates in a different domain, but they have one thing in common—sharing online. This is, quite obviously, very good for the consumers’ pocket books. The trend is also largely green. The only losers in this ”second-hand economy” are the manufacturers and retailers of baby clothes, maternity clothes and such.

Oh well!

Sramana Mitra is the founder of One Million by One Million (1M/1M), a global virtual incubator that aims to help one million entrepreneurs globally to reach $1 million in revenue and beyond. She is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and strategy consultant, she writes the blog Sramana Mitra On Strategy, and is author of the Entrepreneur Journeys book series and Vision India 2020. From 2008 to 2010, Mitra was a columnist for Forbes. As an entrepreneur CEO, she ran three companies: DAIS, Intarka, and Uuma. Sramana has a master’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Follow @sramana

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