One of the most significant social and economic trends that has emerged from technology entrepreneurs in 2011 is collaborative consumption.
When Jessica Scorpio uses the word “overpopulation," chances are she's talking about cars, not people.
“There are a billion cars on the planet today, and if we don’t do something, in 20 years there will be two billion,” says the Getaround co-founder. “And at any minute, 92 percent of those cars are sitting empty – only 8 percent are being used.”
Getaround is a company on a mission to change all that. Like Airbnb, Zaarly, and other peer-to-peer (p2p) marketplaces, Getaround is an example of how collaborative consumption can have a transformative effect on the way we live our lives and share our resources with one another.
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You know that the number of startups has reached a critical mass of sorts when academic studies start appearing in an attempt to document the "science" of entrepreneurship, as opposed to its "art."
Another way to put it might be "data replacing anecdotes."
Which brings us to the recent study called the Startup Genome Report: Cracking the Code of Innovation, coauthored by a team of professors from Stanford and UC Berkeley.
The report was based on surveys of over 650 Internet startups and identified at least 14 key factors that help determine success, including the finding that balanced teams of one business founder and one technical founder raise 30 percent more money, experience almost three times greater user growth, and are less likely to scale "prematurely" than unbalanced teams.
In the midst of a recession that seems to never end, there are plenty of people who need to find new ways to put some cash in their pockets.
Meanwhile, those lucky enough to have jobs often feel like they have to work so hard just to stay employed that they no longer have enough time or energy to take care of the routine tasks of daily life outside of the workplace.
To Michael Peggs, those two economic realities describe an online marketplace waiting to be born.
Meet Peggsit, a startup so young that you if you move quickly enough you could be one of the first 50 people to use it.
The same week that industrial designers and roommates Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky quit their day jobs back in 2007 to try and become entrepreneurs, the landlord of their SoMa apartment hiked their rent.
Faced with a sudden need to make some extra cash, they hit upon an idea. They knew that a major design convention was opening in town and that the hotels were fully booked. So they contacted the attendee list to offer airbeds in their apartment for people having trouble finding a place to stay.
The response was overwhelming and they quickly booked three guests, which netted them $1,000 or so, and in the process Airbnb was born, a community marketplace for people to list and find unique places to stay around the world.
Fast-forward to today, and Airbnb (which is headquartered in SoMa) is truly global in scope and has reached what Gebbia calls a "tipping point," with over 60,000 active listings in 12,663 cities in 181 countries. And just yesterday, it was announced that actor/tech fanatic Ashton Kutcher has invested a significant amount of money in the company and signed on as an advisor.