It’s no secret Liftshare is car-daft, but we’re also aware that it’s not the only mode of transport out there. As the world gets increasingly health-conscious, more and more people are hopping on bikes and blasting some cardio while they commute, or simply unwinding with a leisurely cycle in their spare time.
The cycling community is a large and passionate one, and this is exactly the same space Santa Monica firm Spinlister looked to cater for when it launched in 2012. The peer-to-peer site enables users to rent out their bike in exchange for cash, or browse rentals in their areas. It has also branched out into surfing, snowboard and ski rentals with great success.
It’s a highly moderated community, with a large database of member reviews, security features, mobile apps and bikes are also insured up to $10,000 to help put bike owners at ease when offering up their ride.
We were fascinated to know more, so we spoke with Spinlister CMO Andrew Batey to get a feel for the company’s place within today’s sharing economy.
“We have 60 percent more demand than we have bikes,” he tells us. “For Spinlister, it’s important to make sure we have a highly focused density of rentable bikes within a focused Geo-targeted area. People aren’t just looking for a bike, they are looking for a bike that expresses them as a person.
“That means the bike needs to be the desired type, size, price, and come with desired accessories. The only way to fulfil this level of depth is through significant supply liquidity. It also means that while there may be 200 bikes on your block, you might be the only ideal choice for many people.”
While demand is currently booming, Spinlister isn’t resting on its laurels, as it’s quickly gone from having users in over 50 countries to over 100 since launch, and has found itself paired as the official bike share partner of the Ironman contest, and many fundraising events. It’s clear the site is charitable by design, and absolutely practices what it preaches.
“To say the economy hasn’t driven the sharing economy at all would be false,” Batey replies when we ask him if the rise of sharing services is a result of tough financial times. “But, I personally feel the economy is a small driver to its explosive growth.
“Advancements in technology have made sharing on a scalable level much more convenient. People have a desire to help others and share through informal networks. Now, with technology, this sharing is not only convenient, but scalable and financially worthwhile. Therefore, I feel the growth has been driven by technology and culture rather than economy. The economic benefit is simply a consequence of those actions.”
As technology continues to become deeply entrenched in our everyday lives, it’s natural that we should become closely connected and ‘in tune’ with the prospect of sharing what we have. However, there are understandably a lot of people still on the fence about using sites like Spinlister and indeed, Liftshare.
“I think people are naturally scared of the unknown,” Batey muses. “I would tell them to test it out. With Spinlister we try to make it convenient and safe. You aren’t obligated to share your bike if you don’t want to.
“Look at the profile and use the inputs – Twitter, Facebook, phone verifications, reviews, photos and so on – to determine your own personal risk tolerance level. If you feel uncomfortable, simply decline the offer. I think most people will discover 99% of the users are great people much like themselves.”
Batey also agrees that society is started to shift back to the days of neighbourly contact, and observes that while technology has the capacity to make people dissociate with one another, we are now starting to use it as a way of reconnecting. The sharing economy – naturally – is picking up pace as a result.
“We’ve helped people get groceries, deliver school projects, see different cities, and participate in long distance bike tours,” Batey concludes. “The big win as far as we’re concerned is seeing it work, hearing the constant positive feedback, and improving our inventory and technology to make it better for everyone.”
Are you tempted to try Spinlister? Do you favour bikes over cars? Let us know what you think below.