Is the Sharing Economy High Over?
Oh, how quickly the world turns. Just over a year ago, Tripda was celebrating an $11-million series A round that was led by Berlin-based Rocket Internet, which invests in ecommerce companies. On Friday, it will coordinate its last shared ride.
Tripda rose among other startups riding the tidal wave created by Uber and Airbnb. These eager-beaver entrepreneurs looked to stake their claim to a slice of what they thought was the next hottest, world-changing industry: the sharing economy. Startup dreams spawned an Uber or Airbnb of everything. And now comes the hangover.
This summer, on-demand cleaning service Homejoy announced that it was closing down. As with Tripda, San Francisco-based Homejoy -- which battled another on-demand cleaning service, Handy -- said that it wasn’t able to raise enough money to continue operating.
Another sharing economy startup that, by the founder’s own admission, was born of an idealistic, slightly-naive desire to change the world and ended up run into the ground is Neighborrow. The idea for Neighborrow was that if you lived near by someone with a power drill, then you didn’t really need to own one yourself.
It all sounded awesome. Neighborrow founder Adam Berk was featured on CNBC and became the darling of business bloggers. “The problem was people liked the idea of our idea, not our solution. Journalists flocked to write about us, but they never signed up for the service,” writes Berk in a Pando-daily confessional, post-mortem. “For the rest of the ‘sharing economy,’ it is going to take more than building a platform and expecting people to share. Here’s a sad fact: Most people do not want to share. They want convenience.”
Catherine Clifford is senior entrepreneurship writer at CNBC. She was formerly a senior writer at Entrepreneur.com, the small business reporter at CNNMoney and an assistant in the New York bureau for CNN. Clifford attended Columbia University where she earned a bachelor's degree. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. You can follow her on Twitter at @CatClifford.