Why did we select this case?
The distributive power of the internet allows people to share their goods in ways that that were previously virtually unmarketable. This resulted in a strong rise of online sharing platforms such as Peerby, Neighborgoods, Yerdle, Streetbank and SnapGoods. These peer-to-peer good sharing platforms connect people, provides them with access to a large variety of goods and facilitate social interactions. By supporting these platforms cities can foster sustainable, social and entrepreneurial practices in their city.
Peerby is the world’s leading platform for sharing goods, in terms of the number of different things on their platform, the number of participating members, and the frequency of sharing between members (New York Times, 2015). The platform has active sharing communities in the Netherlands, Belgium, and twenty more European and American cities. Additionally, Peerby has been nominated the second circular business from the World Economic Forum as the platform reduces CO2 emissions, waste and the use of resources (Peerby, 2017). The jury also recognized the social impact since Peerby fosters both online and offline social interactions. Thus platforms such as Peerby do not only have the potential to boost sustainable consumption and cheap access to a large variety of goods but also to increase social cohesion in the city.
About the Case
Peerby is an online platform that enables consumers to borrow and rent the things they need from others in their neighborhood. For three years Peerby has been working towards a world where sharing items is a serious alternative to buying. The platform started with a lending service for neighbors in 2012 that offers access to $1Bn worth of products in over 20 cities in Europe and the United States. By the end of 2015 a new rental service named Peerby Go was added to the platform. Peerby Go enables access to household items from people nearby. The rental service offers a curated catalogue of products with guaranteed availability, delivery and insurance. In January 2017, 200.000 people used Peerby globally (Peerby, 2017).
In May 2016, Peerby launched a crowdfunding campaign. In only four days the amount of $2.2 million was reached. The size and speed of the investment constitute a Dutch record. Peerby succeeded in securing 669% of its target amount. The majority of funders are part of the Peerby community. People mainly use Peerby for social and sustainable motives and less for economic reasons as the majority of the goods that are shared do not have a high economic value.The crowdfunding campaign proved to be an compelling way for Peerby’s community to support the startup to grow (Peerby, 2016).
Peerby both has a website and an iPhone or Android app on which people can request the item they are looking for. The tech start-ups sends a message to the closest Peerby neighbors if they have the requested item. As a consequence, people are likely to get a reply within 30 minutes.
80% of the stuff people have are not used more than once a month. By connecting people who live in close proximity, citizens can save time, money and storage space and product lifecycles can be expanded. Additionally as social interactions are facilitated communities can be strengthened.
Peerby started in Amsterdam and at the moment Peerby has members in every neighborhood throughout the Netherlands. But their impact reaches beyond the Netherlands. There are already Peerby communities in twenty cities in Europe and the US where people are sharing things with each other.
The analyses of Except Sustainable Integration in the research folder shows that sharing things reduces CO2 emissions and the use of resources. The production and consumption of goods produce 12.5% of all CO2 emissions. With every product that is shared, we produce less waste, use less water, burn less fossil fuel, and reduce the particulate matter content of the air.
According to a study by True Price in 2014 Peerby generated about €30 in social capital per individual transaction and topped the list of the most important sharing platforms to increase social capital in the Netherlands.
Want to know more?
- Peerby (2016). ‘Startup Peerby raises $2.2 million from users.’
- Peerby (2017). ‘Internationale erkenning voor spullendeel-platform Peerby’.
- New York Times (2015). ‘Sharing Economy Goes Hyperlocal With a Growing Market for Household Items.’ https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/03/business/smallbusiness/sharing-economy-goes-hyperlocal-with-a-growing-market-for-household-items.html?_r=0