Many are calling Collaborative Consumption a revolution; it has not only changed what people consume, but more importantly it fundamentally changes how they consume it.
Webster’s dictionary defines collaboration as the ‘act of working together’. Consumption is defined as ‘the act or process of consuming’ things. ‘Collaborative Consumption’ describes a cultural movement that is disrupting business models and user behaviors all over the world. Industries affected vary from borrowing and lending to sharing and renting and together they enable a kind of access and community for the everyday individual in a way that was never before possible.
In 2011, Time Money Magazine named Collaborative Consumption one of the top ‘10 Ideas That Will Change the World.’ In their book, What’s Mine is Yours, Collaborative Consumption experts, Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers explore the rise of sharing in our world today. Botsman calls it a “rapid explosion in traditional sharing, bartering, lending, trading, renting, gifting, and swapping redefined through technology and peer communities.”
USA Today calls Collaborative Consumption “America’s new business model: sharing.” And it is. According to Mesh.it, there are over 7,107 companies across 136 countries that have adopted the sharing economy in one way or another. These industries vary from car sharing companies, like Zipcar or RelayRides, to services available like Taskrabbit, and loans like those offered through Prosper.
Peer-to-peer lending is one of the many industries that developed on the cusp of the Collaborative Consumption movement. Borrowing and investing among peers is not a new idea. In fact, peer-to-peer lending can be traced back as far as Shakespeare. But Collaborative Consumption alters the way we access this kind of lending. Now, it’s as simple as logging onto your computer, posting your loan application to prosper.com and watching as investors commit to funding portions of your loan.
Ten years ago, if you wanted to get a loan, your choices were banks, credit unions, payday loan services or the slight chance that you might be able to borrow from a friend or family member. Take that one step further and consider what your investment opportunities were ten years ago. Before peer-to-peer lending, investors had almost zero access to consumer loan pools. They were limited specifically to distressed asset segments, if at all in that sector.
Collaborative Consumption is a movement that is still growing every day. Those of us at Prosper are really excited to continue our contributions as society finds innovative ways to work together to provide unique access to new sharing opportunities.