New Apps in the Sharing Economy

It’s no secret that the social sharing economy exploded with Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb, but recently, newcomers to the space are getting creative and testing the waters to see just how much users trust them, and each other.

Take DogVacay, for example. With this app, you can find a complete stranger to host your pet for $15-$50 for night. Others like Getaraound and Relayrides allow users to borrow cars from their peers, and Feastly, which is currently web-only, lets talented chefs invite feasters into their home to enjoy a meal.

Leftoverswap, by far the strangest sharing app we’ve come across, actually encourages users to share leftovers with each other in an attempt to reduce food waste. Interesting in theory, but diving into someone else’s day-old spaghetti bolognese doesn’t sound very appealing to us just yet. A better take on that concept is FeedingForward, which takes unwanted food and donates it to those in need via volunteer pickup.

Other companies are focused more on meeting consumers’ immediate needs, and that may be just the thing that drives users to ignore the trust factor and reap the benefits.

Postmates, which aims to be the “FedEx of home delivery,” allows users to get any product delivered to them in under one hour. Originally only in San Francisco, Postmates has expanded to 13 marketplaces with plans to reach more cities in the works. Similarly, Austin-based delivery app Favor, launched in its second city, Boston, in July.

Instacart, which started in San Francisco and Chicago, has expanded to 15 cities in just a year. With Instacart, users receive same day grocery delivery. All you need to qualify to be on the shopping end? A valid driver’s license, auto insurance, a smartphone, and 21 years of age.

Many of these companies have more than trust barriers in the way of their success. As the demand for sharing economy products and services increases, there needs to be a peer base willing to provide them. There’s also the legal factor to consider: sharing apps are expanding faster than laws governing them can be written, and many cities are worried about their impact on existing economies.

Long story short? The creative ideas launching in this new economy are nothing short of impressive, but it remains to be seen if they can break through the noise and become staple services on our home screens.

The app we’re most looking forward to using when it arrives in Portland? Postmates!