New Valley Trend: Sharing for Profit

A growing number of Bay Area Internet start-ups are deploying a new business model that is based on an old idea: sharing.

The model is known as “collaborative consumption,” under which a company gathers people who want to share or rent out their property or provide services to others online, with the company taking a cut of any transaction fee.

Since 2008, local start-ups have sprung up to allow people to share goods like cars or baby clothes, or services like putting together Ikea furniture or picking up groceries.

There are no figures on the number of companies based around the idea. But in just three years, a handful of collaborative-consumption companies have snagged lofty valuations and triggered a rush of venture capital into the concept.

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