The sharing economy brings about many benefits: the things we own are used more efficiently, we can connect with others in our community, and we get extra income while doing so. Unfortunately, in the recent years, we have also seen problems arise from the sharing economy.
We want to create a better sharing economy; one where society gets the benefits of this new economy while distributing the value (i.e. profits) more evenly, placing it back into the local communities. By making marketplace technology accessible for everyone, we offer people a choice: if they are not happy with the rules or policies of a particular platform, they can simply vote with their feet and create their own platform instead.
We are working towards a future with thousands of thriving local sharing economy platforms, owned by small and medium-size businesses, social enterprises, co-operatives, non-profits, and cities.
In November 2014, Sharetribe launched its first product, Sharetribe Go. It’s a software solution for building and running marketplace websites. With Go, anyone can create their own peer-to-peer platform in one day and manage it with ease, without technical skills. The business model is similar to that of the blogging and publishing software WordPress: the software is open source, but non-developers can use a Software-as-a-Service solution at Sharetribe.com.
Sharetribe Go is great for people who want to launch their Minimum Viable Platform quickly and with a small budget. However, the overwhelming feedback from our customers is that as their platforms gain traction, they need more flexibility to keep improving and growing. The „zero coding“ approach taken by Sharetribe Go—the very thing that makes it so easy and fast to launch your initial marketplace—inevitably limits customers‘ freedom to change and evolve their platforms. Not being able to freely iterate on the user experience of your marketplace and add features and integrations yourself also means that we mostly haven’t been able to help the bigger, more ambitious teams and organizations with their platform concepts.
All this is now changing. At the end of March, we introduced a product that we’ve been developing for over a year: Sharetribe Flex. By any standard, it’s the most advanced sharing economy software solution out there. Thanks to its API-first architecture, it offers the flexibility of a custom-built solution for the price and time-to-market of an off-the-shelf solution like Sharetribe Go.