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Sharing Economy Companies

How is the sharing economy becoming more prominent in the startup sector? And which small businesses are showing up when it comes to sharing?

In 2019, we celebrate the 11th edition of the Startups 100 – the annual ranking of the 100 most cutting-edge small businesses in Britain.

We’re seeing more and more businesses focused on doing good, such as for environmental purposes, like our eco-friendly festival favourites. Plus, businesses are increasingly offering services that streamline processes, such as on-demand startups. And what about those that combine the two?

That’s where our sharing economy theme steps in, highlighting the benefits for the environment and for the individual of creating a more collaborative, cyclical relationship between businesses and customers, and an alternative form of consumption.


The rise of the sharing economy

sharing economy growth

What do luxury goods, rentals, equipment hire and baggage storage all have in common? They’re all sharing economy examples of items and services that are available from businesses that are ranked in our 2019 edit.

The World Economic Forum predicted the four trends that the sector is likely to experience in 2019. Plus, Warwick Business School published data in 2018 that stated 23% of the UK population use sharing platforms.

And before that, in 2015, the Sharing Economy UK (SEUK) was launched: the trade body representing the sharing economy in the country. This shows that the trend isn’t limited to our list – the sharing economy is gaining popularity, both here in the UK and overseas.

While the likes of AirBnb and Uber are now household names, they also began as startups promoting the concept of the sharing economy – and as their success shows, there’s the potential for big money to be made.

But it’s not all about the books – many businesses in this space are looking to make an impact that extends beyond the company’s bottom line, as after all, sharing is caring.

Whether it’s sharing your home, your dog, or your time, the sharing economy operates on the premise that potentially everyone has something of value to trade.

What that looks like can vary, but at its essence it could even be said to reflect business transactions of yesteryear, offering a more direct, local exchange as an alternative to the dominance of mass consumption and throwaway culture.

Read on to discover which startups are bringing the sharing economy full circle and up to date…


Meet startups flourishing in the sharing economy

Here we highlight four startups that are making waves in the sharing economy in the UK.


cudoni luxury goods sharing economy startup

Cudoni

Ranking at number 30, and having raised £2m in finance two years into its business journey (and featured on the Startups 100 2018 list), Cudoni provides a marketplace for people to buy and sell pre-owned luxury goods.

Traditionally, using such a platform would involve a lot of time and legwork for sellers. But not with Cudoni, which is disrupting the space with its platform – a one-of-a-kind in Europe. Collection? Listing? Fulfillment? Check, check and check – Cudoni does it all, and more.

With higher risks involved when it comes to re-selling these types of products, and the peer-to-peer structure being a lengthy process by nature, Cudoni offers a new solution for trading secondhand luxury goods.


fat llama sharing economy startup

Fat Llama

Founded in 2016, and having raised £13.1m in finance, Fat Llama is a flexible marketplace that allows people to rent, buy, borrow or lend products. This provides people with an opportunity to make money from their belongings, with some users making up to £8,000 per month.

But Fat Llama isn’t only about boosting bank balances – it’s about protecting the planet too. Its users helped to reduce CO2 emissions by an estimated 20, 414 tonnes in 2018 by opting to rent instead of purchase goods just in the Film & Photography category, according to research by Concito.

As a cross-category marketplace, Fat Llama stands out. Plus, for the freelancers that use the platform, it offers opportunities to network and connect, as well as collecting and receiving goods.


rentuu hiring equipment startup

Rentuu

Offering access to more than 13 million items, Rentuu is an equipment hire platform aiming to disrupt the industry. With turnover for the last financial year at £200,000 and founded in 2018, Rentuu marks a change in the equipment hire industry.

By providing a solution to common problems in the industry, such as outdated ordering systems, Rentuu is digitising the client-supplier connection.

Focusing on making the equipment hire process more simple, more than 1000+ clients have used Rentuu, including the BBC and Dublin Tech Summit.


stasher startup

Stasher

Wouldn’t it be great to have somewhere safe and convenient to store your luggage for a day while travelling? That’s what the founding team of Stasher wondered – and so the urban storage network was created.

Connecting travellers with luggage to businesses with storage space, Stasher offers day storage in 100+ cities around the world. Travellers can ‘stash’ their luggage with local businesses, whether that’s before checking in or after checking out of their accommodation.

Started in 2016 by college roommates from Oxford University, Stasher has since experienced rapid international growth. Plus, with hosts such as Accor and Premier Inn, along with current funders including the former president of hotels.com, Stasher has impressive connections in the travel industry.


Next Steps

Want to know more about how you can do social good as a business? Check out our guide on how to become a B Corp.

Or, read our guide on business recycling to make sure your startup is as sustainable as possible.



Scarlett Cook attends and reports on many industry events for Startups.co.uk, particularly those relating to communication, equality and diversity in entrepreneurship.

Since joining the team in 2018, she has developed our telephone systems and business mobiles topics as well as ‘how to’ guides, with her work having been referenced by brands such as Hiscox. Previously, she has written for audiences across the UK, Australia and New Zealand.