Access Economy

more than a $110 billion opportunity

thanks to




The access economy is also known as the peer-to-peer marketplace, or collaborative consumption. It is a new, emerging economy made possible by online social networks and fueled by increasing cost consciousness and environmental necessity. It occurs when people participate in organized sharing, bartering, trading, renting, swapping, and collectives to get the same pleasures of ownership with reduced personal cost and burden, and lower environmental impact.

Startups are burgeoning in the field. They include Airbnb (places to stay), Babyplays (online toy rental), Bixi (city bike rental), Carpooling (ride sharing), Citibike (bike sharing), Closetraid (sharing virtual closets), Clothingxchange (clothes recycling), Couchsurfing (like its name), Etsy (handmade marketplace), Getaround (rent a car from someone), Grubly (underground dinners), Keywifi (peer2peer internet access), Knodes (social data analysis), Neighborgoods (sharing stuff), Landshare (sharing land for local food), Paperbackswap (online book swap), Parkatmyhouse (rent a driveway), Recrib (gently used kids’ gear), Relayrides (peer2peer car rentals), Sharehood (sharing resources locally), Snapgoods (borrow or rent stuff), Swapstyle (swap fashion clothes), Thredup (recycling kids’ clothes), Tradeschool (barter for instruction), Zipcar (cars by the hour).

Crowdfunding are another aspect of the access economy. The zooming success of kickstarter has kickstarted the process. The access economy has attracted big corporates. GM has in vested in Relayrides and BMW is partnering with Parkatmyhouse. Honda partners with Zipcar.

Finding trust in the sharing economy may require holding your nose and jumping, or you could go to that measures the trust a person earns through their online actions, then converts it into a portable score that can be leveraged in the sharing economy.

If you want to read more, here are some useful links:


The book, What’s Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption by Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers describes the phenomenon. Another, earlier book is The Mesh: Why the Future of Business Is Sharing by Lisa Gansky.

PLEASE NOTE: There is tons of useful stuff on Startup Owl, a site that’s been going for a dozen years. So keep browsing, but know that the founder, Will, now devotes most of his time and energy to his new website that you should definitely visit: