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EVERGREEN INSIGHTS: A WEEKLY SNAPSHOT
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THE NEXT CHINESE REVOLUTION
From Patrick Cox, editor of Transformational Technology Alert (via John Mauldin)
(…) Uber, the ride-hailing company, is raising $1.5 billion at a valuation of $50 billion — theoretically making the six-year-old business the equal of Target and Kraft Foods. Airbnb, for home sharing, is valued at $20 billion. Uber competitor Lyft is valued at $2.5 billion. Instacart, for grocery delivery, is valued at $2 billion and Postmates, another delivery service, is valued at $150 million to $200 million.
Companies say rapid growth supports the valuations. Airbnb claims more than 35 million guests since it launched in 2008 and 1.2 million listings; more than 600 are castles. Dogs can share homes too, on DogVacay, with 20,000 sitters on its platform. It’s hard to figure out if revenue is growing as rapidly at these closely held companies, but a leaked Lyft fundraising document showed that the company took in about $140 million in 2014.
Ideological opponents say the sharing economy creates employee-serfs who go without benefits like health insurance and job security, and that peer-to-peer transactions aggravate inequality. In big cities, for example, apartments used for “sharing” become unavailable to long-term renters, worsening housing shortages and driving up rents. Cities and countries around the world are having to decide whether to treat sharing companies as innovators or scofflaws.
As sharing companies adjust to regulators, they become more like other businesses. Houston makes Uber drivers pass a background check and provide disability access. What makes car-sharing there different from cab services? (…)
Airbnbs & Hotels, Austin