Sharing economy start-ups are changing many cities

You can park in a privately-owned parking space or use the home wifi network of others

Aaron Hirschhorn of DogVacay which matches pet owners with care takers and is cheaper than traditional boarding/kennels

Aaron Hirschhorn of DogVacay which matches pet owners with care takers and is cheaper than traditional boarding/kennels

 

Imagine driving into the city, but instead of parking in a multistorey car park, you can park in a privately-owned parking space. No need to pay several euro per hour, you can have a parking space for the entire day for cheaper.

Or maybe you’re visiting another town, and don’t fancy pay-and-display parking. You could park in someone’s driveway instead. This is what the sharing economy is about – it’s booming, with people sharing everything from their house to their car to their skis with perfect strangers.

The sharing economy started with CouchSurfing where people travelling could stay on someone’s couch, in the city or town they were visiting.

Then Airbnb and Uber came along and everything changed. People realised they could quickly and easily monetise their assets, renting their spare room on a short-term basis or becoming an independent cab driver.

The sharing economy is big business too. Airbnb’s valuation has surpassed Hyatt Hotels, and Uber’s valuation is bigger than rental car giants Hertz and Avis. Irish cities are behind others especially San Francisco when it comes to the sharing economy, and we’re definitely missing out. So here are nine sharing economy start-ups changing other cities:

Turo

Need a car, but just for an hour? Or maybe you just need one for the weekend? Turo is a website and app for private car owners to rent their vehicles, to their neighbours, friends or even perfect strangers. Car owners can make extra cash by renting their car when they’re not using it. All they have to do is state the time and place the car is available. The advantage over standard rental-car companies is that it tends to be substantially cheaper for the person renting the car.

Getaround

Just like Turo, Getaround allows car owners to put their car to use for you when they’re not driving it. The car owners can set their desired rate and the company will handle all the payment processing and insurance.

Campinmygarden

Like Airbnb, but for gardens. Home owners with gardens can offer up their lawns to campers.

It would be cheaper to pitch a tent in someone’s garden than fork out for a hotel room in many cities. The site lists locations as far afield as Tonga, Fiji and Jamaica, and has spots on every continent except Antarctica.

DogVacay

Also like Airbnb, but for dogs. The site matches pet owners with prospective caretakers, and is far cheaper than traditional boarding/kennels. All caretakers go through an application process that includes reference checks and phone interviews, so pets are in good hands.

Fon

This allows members of the public to access the home wifi network of others. Why would anyone allow strangers to access their home wifi network? Well in exchange for allowing others use your internet, you can get free wifi at any of the 8 million worldwide hotspots in Fon’s network.

Spinlister

Spinlister is a peer-to-peer marketplace for sports equipment rentals. It started as a bike-sharing company, but has since evolved to include skis, snowboards, surfboards and stand up paddle boards.

Instead of having these items collect dust in your garage when you’re not using them, you can rent them out and make some money.

JustPark

This app and website aims to solve the problem of finding a parking space, by leveraging vacant privately-owned spaces. No need to worry about feeding a metre, or moving your car if you’re parked somewhere with a two hour limit. The company says parking spaces are also 60 per cent cheaper than on-street parking on average.

Open Shed

Under the motto “why buy when you can share” Open Shed encourages people to help their neighbours by allowing them to rent, use and return handy goods. Users can rent out power tools, electronic equipment or even camping gear to others in their community.

LeftoverSwap

This might be taking the sharing economy too far. It aims to reduce food waste by connecting hungry people with their neighbour’s leftovers. Let’s say you’re stuffed, but there’s still food left on your plate and in the oven dish. You’ve cooked way too much. Take a photo of what you can’t eat, upload it to the app and let your neighbours have the leftovers. Sharing is caring.
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