Embracing The Sharing Economy
By Ahmed Ahmed
Barbers, tutors, ladders, chefs, DJ’s, and tools are just some of the few advertisements listed on Rentah.com, a new sharing economy based company founded by geography professor Anup Desai in 2013.
With its headquarters located in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, Rentah hopes to alter the way people do business with one another.
“A Peer to peer marketplace where people share their products is our objective,” said Desai. “We want to be the newer more sophisticated Craigslist.”
Rentah’s public launch in 2014 was well received, with hundreds of users signing up, and thousands of items being made rental available in the NYC area.
Defined as tech-start up far from Silicon Valley, Rentah has obtained the attention of many local radio stations, and newspapers.
“It’s a great idea,” said President of the Entrepreneurship Club David Santos, “Many people have so many items that they don’t use laying around which they could definitely profit off.”
LejDet, Rentah’s sister company in Arhus, Denmark has been very successful in connecting users with one another in sharing goods across Europe. Serving a small population of 300,000, LejDet website lists over a half million rental items available to neighboring cities and countries.
“Everyone has a skill or product that is not utilized on a daily basis,” said Desai. “Whether you’re a chef or straight A student, someone out there is willing to pay for your services.”
Financial analysts have attribute the rise of the sharing economy to the global economic recession. It has paved the way for entrepreneurs to develop alternative marketplaces where individuals can make money through other channels.
Sharing Economy companies like Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb have become household names in recent years by banking off the personal profit motive. Left and Uber companies allows users turn their personal vehicles into a limousine or taxi service.
In cities across the world from NYC to New Delhi, tens of thousands are utilizing an alternative unregulated transportation method, which has left local politicians in from many cities angry. They accuse Uber and Lyft of having lax regulations, while violating many city taxi rules.
Law-enforcement officials have warned participants to be cautious in entering unlicensed taxi drivers, as numerous crimes including rape and robbery have taken place.
Airbnb, provides users a platform to rent out their apartments, homes, or villas to other people for a fee determined by them. Local officials are debating whether it is legally permissible to allow makeshift hotels in a space while under a contract or mortgage.
NYC Council members and Mayor Bill De Blasio fearful of the precedent set, are taking steps to ushering in regulatory measures against Airbnb.
“We have a strong enforcement apparatus to pursue complaints of illegal hotel activity,” said Mayoral spokesman Wiley Norvell in a press conference. “When we have a bad actor putting people’s safety at risk, we’re going to go after them.”
While they all battle in court to remain in service, profits from the sharing economy have soared above all expectations, generating over a billion dollars in revenue in 2014, providing many people valuable income in an age of stagnant wages, and an uncertain job market.
Rentah hopes to avoid the legal troubles its competitors have found themselves in by working with the city government in developing a sustainable business model.
“Our business stems from a genuine belief in the power of collaborative consumption,” said Desai. “Collaboration is integral to Rentah and we want to create as many relationships with as many like-minded people and organizations as possible”.