Long-time analyst and noted commentator Jeremiah Owyang, partner at research company Altimeter Group, spoke at Le Web in London today about the so-called ‘sharing economy’ and had a few home truths to impart, especially to big businesses being disrupted by startups.
Owyang thinks there are two things going on here. The startups will have to get used to big businesses co-opting ‘sharing’ business models — potentially making an exit to an incumbent harder. But at the same time there could be opportunities for startups to gain important traction by partnering with the big corporate giants.
For instance car makers are waking up to the fact that the car they sell one time could actually be worth US$270,000 in auto sales, or around nine cars, if it were shared. So just having a car used by one owner does not make a lot of sense. There are lots of opportunity in the sharing economy, and big companies are barely now beginning to wake up to it.
In his speech he talks about companies ‘becoming a service’, leveraging marketplaces like Airbnb, and providing a platform for your users and customers to build your next set of products.
The lessons for startups are obvious. The potential acquirers of ‘share economy’ startups are starting to wise up, and they have people like Owyang advising them.
We unpacked some of this in this interview.
[Thanks to Chris Leydon for the camera work.]