Why we released Markets, an AppStore for the Sharing Economy

Today we released a new Android App, Markets. Markets is an Appstore where people can find a curated list of sharing economy startups, from the juggernauts like Uber to much smaller marketplaces in Thailand you and I might had never heard of.

I have mentioned previously that the Sharing Economy’s (which I prefer to call the Access Economy) main driver is enabling economic opportunities for buyers and sellers of any assets or skills, rather than the perhaps more romantic or green spirit of “sharing”. In our survey, more than 70% of the suppliers of the Access economy (the drivers, the hosts, etc.) do this as an important source of income for their famlies. A month ago I took an Uber in Madrid (the day before it was banned) and the driver was a 45-ish father with 2 children who was long unemployed and Uber was his only source of income. His older son, 18, was Ubering his car over the weekends to help the family too. A day later the government who is supposed to defend their citizens put this family back into distress in the name of “unfair competition to their monopoly”, which feels like an oxymoron.

The recent Global Threats 2015 of the World Economic Forum shows again that unemployment and underemployment are one of the 3 main concerns of our time. The Access Economy, as an enabler of the economic graph, will, in my opinion, soon become one of the biggest drivers to tackle unemployment and to reduce inequality in both emerging and established economies. Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber, recently mentioned that they expect to help create 50,000 jobs in Europe within one year. It’s arguable that it is not many people’s dreams to become a private driver, but we have to look at the big picture of enabling econmic opportunities for those who need to fill income gaps or have a full income while they search or study for the job of their dreams. With that thought in our mind, we interviewed some suppliers of the Access Economy to create this short video:

Users of the Access Economy tell us why it is important to their lives

What we identified at Traity was that many people simply did not realize how many things they can leverage to make money, so we Markets is basically a browsable directory of apps (which we call it “Appstore” for everyone to understand what we mean, but we don´t really sell any apps), curated by our team in both the description, who it is intended for, etc. so we can avoid a lot of the “marketing” of “Best Top App” etc etc. and focus on the real benefits of both the seller and the buyer, mostly in terms of cost savings and expected earnings.

We now have over 170 Apps in the directory. As we developed the tool, the apps we contacted showed interest in offering discounts for downloading their apps. And because our design separated buyers from sellers, they can offer different discounts to the different types of customers. It is well known that in these type of marketplaces, the “supply” goes before the demand, so those Apps can offer not just a discount for staying one night somewhere, but maybe a higher commission on the first time they are hosts.

This app happened during one of our “Serendipity Fridays”, which gives our team the flexibility to work on whatever they want. Sometimes it is hard to find time in the daily frenzy of startups to initiate new projects, but I want to thank particularly Cesar, Marta, Lara and Alexandra for building this little tool that is both useful, beautiful and does not crash, in record time. We don’t expect to market it aggressively (this app is not really our business), but we hope that the people who download it will benefit from browsing and discovering new ideas of making new income they had never considered before. Every person who downloads one of the apps from Markets is somebody who has dreams and ambitions, and every little help we can provide to help them identify new ways to achieve them, by either reducing their cost or increasing their income, will be worthwhile.

Originally published at blog.traity.com on January 28, 2015.

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