Is the “sharing economy” really a new phenomenon?

Th
e term “sharing economy” strikes me as another creative term to describe an old concept. The idea of renting, hiring, borrowing or “sharing” for some exchange of value has been around since the first goats were traded. I think what is new are the incredible efficiencies gained by the use of technology and a connected society.

I use Uber on a regular basis. What makes Uber more convenient than a traditional taxi service is being able to know something about the driver, including location, and not having to pay onsite. Honestly, I would feel more safe and comfortable with a taxi that is subject to government regulations, but the convenience of Uber trumps my concerns regarding safety.

And this got me thinking. For many years, I owned a B2B equipment rental company. Not unlike other “sharing economy” models, I loaned my assets to others for a fee, but I could not conduct business with the same efficiency and scalability of Uber, AirBNB and other media darlings. After selling my company, I set out to find a solution for the B2B equipment rental market that adopted principles from the likes of Uber. This led me to starting KWIPPED.com, a B2B marketplace for equipment rentals.

Like AirBnB and Uber, KWIPPED starts with a renter submitting a request/need. The technology then finds efficiencies in the process by matching that need with capable vendors. The requester can choose the best vendor based on information provided by the vendor, ratings and even a detailed quote including picture. The transaction is complete when the requester agrees to an electronic rental contract and makes a payment. Our platform injects tremendous efficiencies into an otherwise tedious process. And, by the use of technology, we are able to streamline a process and establish credibility which reduces risk. As a result, we have been approached by non-traditional rental companies and individuals who inquired about using KWIPPED to rent their assets. We are fueling the “sharing economy”.

I am a fan of “sharing economy” models, but I do not think it’s a new phenomenon. Technology creates efficiencies which enables scalability. The quicker and easier we can do business with each other, the more productive our society will become. The ease of doing business on liquid marketplaces such as Uber, AirBnB and KWIPPED will result in new and non-traditional marketplace participants being encouraged to enter and share their wares.