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Jeremy Evans talks to 5 sharing economy startups that are improving the world

“Sharing economy” is a buzzphrase that’s already being thrown around fairly casually.

But as an industry, it’s very much still in its infancy.

With a growing number of sharing businesses starting up in London – and increasing interest from investors – Tech City News looks at five sharing economy startups that hope to make the world a better place.

Warren Heal, RentMyItems

WHRentMyItems connects people with items to rent with those who wish to rent them. Advertise your spare lawnmower, slow cooker or guitar on the platform, and people search for what they need.

The Sharing Economy is a hugely exciting area to be involved and is growing massively.

What does the sharing economy mean to you?

People have been sharing skills and tools for millennia and the internet now provides a platform for people within communities to easily and efficiently share with each other.

Where’s RentMyItems heading in the near future?

Following our Friends & Family raise we are now fundraising to allow us to redevelop our website to introduce a commission-based payment structure and a Wanted Items section. We’re also adding professional hire companies to list higher-spec and more professional items with us.

Greg Marsh, onefinestay

Greg Marsh, CEO and Co-founderonefinestay gives you the chance to stay in someone else’s house while they’re out of town. The service includes everything from insurance to cleaning and a personal welcome for guests.

We feel we’re building something extraordinary. And it’s a great group of people, to boot!

What does the sharing economy mean to you?

For me, the sharing economy means being a local wherever you are in the world. For our guests, access to a real, characterful home in a charming neighbourhood brings a rich and authentic experience of city life.

Where’s onefinestay heading in the near future?

Since launching in London in May 2010, we’ve successfully expanded to New York, Paris and Los Angeles. We’re now setting our sights on other major world cities, with plans already in hand for further European and US launches.

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Sarah Henderson, Echo

sarahheadEcho is a trading platform with a difference – the currency is time, not money. They value every skill and resource the same: an hour for an hour.

The sharing economy excites me because it shows a renewed interest in creating community.

What does the sharing economy mean to you?

People no longer just want to buy and sell in a faceless way, but want to connect more meaningfully to people and companies around them. With Echo we’re creating a way that individuals and organisations can share and trade resources locally, and work with people they might not otherwise have discovered.

Where’s Echo heading in the near future?

Having piloted in Hackney, we have just launched Echo across the rest of East London and then next stop: Greater London. Ultimately, our aim is for Echo to scale across the UK enabling trades for Echoes between members in Aberdeen and Archway; a nation wide Economy of Hours.

Logan Hall, Movebubble

logan-hallMovebubble enables property owners, renters and traders to advertise, find and maintain homes easily and without worry. It helps with everything from tenancy agreements to searching for local trusted tradesmen.

It’s about the ability to focus on change that we feel should exist, and pursue it – everyday.

What does the sharing economy mean to you?

The sharing economy represents a step change in capitalism or perhaps more accurately within societies. And a step in the right direction. This is a demand-led change in perspective, where large companies can’t get away with wasteful and unfair activities – because with sharing economies people can bypass big businesses and do things themselves.

Where is Movebubble headed?

Movebubble will be the largest peer-to-peer residential property rental platform in the world, giving people back more time and money to spend on the things they really love. We feel Movebubble can make a genuine difference in people’s lives, and that working alongside our valued community we can build something great together.

Ben Pugh, FarmDrop

Ben Pugh (1)FarmDrop is creating a more sustainable food system by helping communities come together to buy & sell local food. You get fresher, local food and farmers get 80% of the money – instead of the UK average of 10%.

The sharing economy is a way for small companies to be profitable as well as beautiful.

What does the sharing economy mean to you?

A way of living that is more financially, socially and environmentally sustainable. It puts power back in the hands of communities, giving them a renewed faith in their ability to create change.

Where’s FarmDrop heading in the near future?

The growth and development of 50 local marketplaces – or FarmDrops – that will supply their communities with amazing, fresh produce.

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