Airbnb and Uber are both prominent solutions of The Sharing Economy globally because they have built a system that works and has become a case study that many adopt.

The world has become a global village with access to information, resources, and assets at our fingertip. The easy reach for information and things brought about the Sharing Economy. The Sharing Economy is a system built around the concept that enables people to share resources, facilities, knowledge, and ideas with monetary exchange involved.

Sharing in Sharing Economy does not require users/customers to fully own the assets or resource being used, in fact, most assets are owned by either an individual or a group, who make it available to people to use for a fee for a period of time. A common example of Sharing Economy is Airbnb which matches people who need a room with those who have a room to rent out for a period of time.

Airbnb has been widely accepted since its launch in San Francisco in 2008 and a record of over 4million people have used it with 25milllion of them in 2012 alone. It is the most known form of the "sharing economy” in which people rent beds, cars, boats and other assets directly from each other, all via the internet (The Economist, 2013).

Sharing Economy Figure
Sharing a taxi...

Another record breaking example of sharing economy is Uber, which runs on a model that connects people with cars. Unlike the traditional way of hailing cars, Uber allows the users select the class of car, his location, his destination and also a form of payment- either via cash or a credit/debit card.

ne of Ubers goals is to encourage people to leave their cars at home and ride with them, thereby decongesting the roads especially in busy cities like San Francisco. Uber has also been very successful in Nigeria with a record of over 1.4 million rides since it started its operations in Lagos- the most populous city in Nigeria.

Airbnb and Uber are both prominent solutions of The Sharing Economy globally because they have built a system that works and has become a case study that many adopt.

“As they say what is mine is yours and what is yours is mine- so let’s keep thinking, developing and sharing together.”

However, bringing the Sharing Economy back home, there are various existing solutions of The Sharing Economy who have kickstarted projects for profit-making reason and traffic decongestion reasons. One of them in Nigeria is Shuttlers which was founded by three ladies in 2015 who saw a gap in the transport industry based on their own experience while commuting to the office daily via public transportation. Shuttlers is a shuttle service that provides professionals a more convenient and cost-effective medium to travel to and from work using a seat matching technology. Shuttlers use an app to enable interested commuters to sign up on the platform and choose their routes. Professionals can book a seat on preferred route, Pay for a seat and track the location of their preferred mode of transportation, e.g. bus, and receive push notifications on information relating to the service such as arrival and departure times.

A deep look at the pioneers of the sharing economy shows the importance of technology in the drive to make things work easier and faster for people. Also, the sharing economy has created a form of employment for many as Uber drivers, staff at Airbnb and drivers at Shuttlers; thereby reducing the rate of unemployment to an extent.

In as much as the Sharing Economy has taken over the transport, hospitality industry, we still look forward to many “Sharing innovations” centered on Health, Education and Personal services that function effectively in Nigeria. For Health sectors, solutions centered on connecting hospitals with equipment for rent would thrive in this economy. While solutions which map contract staff teachers with schools would be a welcome development in the Educational sector. For personal services, a platform which connects ladies to people who rent out fashion accessories such as designer bags and shoes would be a profitable model for business and also a cost cutting measure for customers.

As they say what is mine is yours and what is yours is mine- so let’s keep thinking, developing and sharing together.

References
  1. The Economist
  2. Venture Capital for Africa