The Collaborative Economy

Products, services, and market relationships have changed as sharing startups impact business models. To avoid disruption, companies must adopt the Collaborative Economy Value Chain.

Authors:  Jeremiah Owyang, Christine Tran and Chris Silva
Date published: June 2013

Why did we select this research?

Through informative graphics and frameworks, this report authored by Jeremiah Owyang, Christine Tran and Chris Silva from Altimeter Group explores the market forces driving the rapid growth in the collaborative economy space.

Key findings

While the collaborative economy is still in its nascent stage, the study shows that it is already disrupting existing institutions in different sectors such such as transportation, hospitality, labour, banking and more.

It suggests that large brands should rethink their business models in order to stay relevant to their customers who are increasingly bypassing traditional institutions in favour of peer-to-peer transactions.

  • People’s relationships with existing traditional brands are changing. Through technology, people are now empowered to transact directly with each other without going through traditional middlemen.
  • The collaborative economy is not just for start-ups, there are traditional players adapting this thinking. For example, Patagonia partnered with eBay to encourage customers to buy and sell its used products. NBC has partnered with Yerdle, a startup that fosters peer-to-peer sharing.
  • Altimeter suggests that large brands can move into the collaborative economy using three different models: evolving the business as a company-as-service; connecting p2p buyers and sellers by motivating a marketplace, and providing a platform where customers can co-build or co-create the company’s services.


Owyang, J., Tran, C., & Silva, C. (2013). The collaborative economy. Altimeter, United States. Retrieved from: