Alan Guichard: The sharing economy from a sky-high perspective
The Wall Street Journal - 05/08/2014
The sharing economy or collaborative consumption is a vast market existing everywhere around us, but is not readily apparent. Instead, it is a by-product of the everyday inefficiencies of life — the person with an extra seat in their car, extra room in their house, or with extra time to spare. Anyone who has used Lyft, Zipcar, or Airbnb knows this first hand. According to Rachel Botsman, author of “What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption,” the consumer peer-to-peer rental market alone is worth $26 billion. So, the opportunity of the shared economy is evident, and for any entrepreneur that’s exciting.
We started Flytenow, an online ride sharing platform for small planes, six months ago with the help of IDEA, Northeastern University’s venture accelerator. Being pilots and aviation enthusiasts ourselves, and inspired by Lyft and Airbnb, we decided to tap into the sharing economy for general aviation. The premise is simple: thousands of private pilots fly every day with empty seats in their planes. Whether it be a common destination, lunch at an airport restaurant or another day trip, Flytenow connects enthusiasts with pilots. Here are a couple of things we have learned so far: