Australia’s first sharing economy accelerator, The Sharing Hub, had its official launch in Sydney on Monday (3 April). The quartet of start-up founders driving the initiative – Steve Orenstein (Zoom2u), Alexis Soulopoulos (Mad Paws), Will Davies (Car Next Door) and Mike Rosenbaum (Spacer.com.au) – spoke to Dynamic Business (DB) about Australia’s ‘booming’ sharing economy and the support they’re providing disruptive ventures.
DB Why is Australia’s sharing economy ready for an accelerator?
Rosenbaum: “The sharing economy is booming. Deloitte’s new sharing economy report, which was presented at our launch event by Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Matt Kean, is proof that collaborative consumption is flourishing in Australia – and here to stay. The report shows that in NSW alone, sharing economy revenue grew 68% from $1.6 billion to $2.6 billion in the last 12 months – that’s massive.”
Davies: “The sharing economy has its own set of particular challenges and opportunities, for example the chicken and egg problem: “do we build demand first or do we first build supply?”. We strongly believe that sharing insights between companies who are facing these same challenges is very beneficial and the very large interest we’ve received shows that. We’re the only Hub in Australia helping start-ups in the sharing economy.”
DB: What progress has the Sharing Hub made since it was first announced?
Orenstein: “We’ve opened our official headquarters in Pyrmont, NSW. It’s more than just a physical location – it’s a place where sharing economy start-ups can exchange insights, access investment opportunities, mentor and be mentored, and attend event such as our quarterly meet-ups. Each of The Sharing Hub’s founders have a role in helping start-ups grow at speed. By collaborating with each other we can learn faster, which results in accelerated growth. Currently we’re supporting 30 sharing economy start-ups, which together have raised $60M+ in funding; however, we’ve had interest from over 100 since we announced The Sharing Hub in October.”
DB: What programs and services are being offered by The Sharing Hub?
Soulopoulos: “We have different initiatives for all different size sharing economy companies – ultimately, we welcome and support any business that could be successful. In addition to our meet-ups and our peer-to-peer mentorship program, we’re doing a series of guest lectures and panel discussions at the University of Sydney, with the aim being to share our insights and get young, aspiring entrepreneurs up to speed on the sharing economy. We’re also launching a cross-company graduate programme where graduates will do a rotation in all four companies operated by The Sharing Hub’s founders and potentially other businesses participating in the Hub.
“Further, we’re organising the first Sharing Hub Community event for our suppliers (e.g. Zoom2U drivers, Car Next Door owners, Spacer.com.au hosts and Mad Paws pet sitters) plus any consumers who want to know more about how they can make a second income. This is an opportunity for us to give back to the people who are making our businesses successful. They will have an opportunity to meet each other, exchange experiences and become familiar with a variety of other sharing economy businesses they can sign up to earn extra income.” ‘
See also: Spacer takes on world’s largest self-storage market with buy-out of US equivalent, Roost, Australia’s first sharing economy accelerator launches; head identifies start-up ‘must-haves’, New ways for start-ups to thrive in the shareconomy: Ex Deals Direct CEO talks Spacer and Share a ride with Car Next Door’s Will and Dave: the duo challenging car ownership.