unstash - peer-to-peer platform for sharing (Finalist.)
'Unstash' is a peer-to-peer online service for collaborative consumption. Our mission is to make sharing awesome again. We tackle the often unspoken cause behind greenhouse gas emissions and climate change - our unending consumption of goods.
While we tend to focus on solutions like transportation and energy use when dealing with climate change, the reality is 'the stuff we consume accounts for nearly half of green house gases"
We're creating a platform for people to easily list, share, and track things that they own within trusted communities. Maybe you have a power tool you bought once, and never used again. Or maybe you bought a Nintendo Wii that's collecting dust. Or maybe you need a tent for a camping trip but don't want to buy one for a single occasion. Maybe we have more than we think - it's just not sitting under our own roofs.
Every single time we work together within trusted communities to borrow rather than buy we divert carbon emissions upstream in a substantial way.
Some updates in response to climatespark feedback:
- This is not a craigslist that involves buying/selling and it is not a swap site which depends on a coincidence of wants - Our focus here is on facilitating and enhancing the sharing experience within trusted communities.
- We will be leveraging a user's existing online social networks to make connecting with those you trust extremely easily.
- We'll offer more granular levels of privacy control of users who wish to make things available to one group versus another.
- Because sharing physical goods require physical encounters unstash is designed and marketed towards local neighborhoods or groups that frequently meet together- User segments include condos, neighborhood blocks, schools, dorms, workplaces, faith groups, clubs, associations, immigrant centres, etc.
- We will provide metrics so users and groups can see how much less they've consumed through sharing
Unstash wants to help Toronto embrace 'access' over 'ownership'. We're designing the experience to be dead-simple to use, safe, and even fun. We believe sharing is the new shopping and together we can help people save money and deepen community ties, all the while creating a more sustainable future.
The most obvious potential for emissions reduction is through helping people minimize the purchasing of consumer goods. For example, a DVD has a carbon footprint of 3 kilograms of CO2 (manufacturing and distribution). A study out of Australia correlates that "every additional dollar of consumption is responsible for 720 grams of greenhouse gas emissions and 28 litres of water." (http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007/08/shopping_is_cos.php). Hence, every item shared, rather than purchased would contribute to a reduction in overall emissions.
Packaging (which we spend on average 10 cents of every dollar on) could also be drastically reduced. For example, containers and packaging account for 31.6 percent by weight and 29.6 percent by volume of the municipal solid waste (MSW) in the United States (—US EPA). If the same percentage applies to Toronto as a typical North american city this can help alleviate the 46,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions potentially caused by garbage in the form of packaging and containers. (http://www.toronto.ca/garbage/facts.htm)
In the 50 years the average family size has almost halved, while the average home size has doubled, but a rapidly growing number of self-storage facilities now outnumber Starbucks shops. Clearly we still don't have enough room for all of our stuff! Sharing helps reduce the burden of storage and in turn the emissions created for additional buildings constructed over green space.
As Unstash helps cultivate more closely knit communities through sharing of goods, it also encourages other shared activities and services. By helping create more local economies within Toronto neighborhoods, travel and shipping is reduced, further curbing emissions.
Lon Wong, co-founder, Bachelor of Engineering, Master of Divinity, 10 years in both the high tech industry as well as community development
Samuel Wong, co-founder, Master of Applied Science, 12 years of software development experience, app developer with patent pending
Team of passionate developers, designers, and advocates who volunteer their time because they believe in the vision of the project.
Unstash is a free service to all users while being higly viable and scalable.
Current consumer buying patterns show there is no shortage of people wanting access to more things for less. As a web service, although the cost of development is frontloaded, technical costs are ever-decreasing.
The business plan consists of 6 different revenue streams
- On-going sponsors that align with our values and vision
- member/supporter accounts with additional features
- a fee-based rental system allowing users to monetize more expensive items they're sharing
- a mobile application for added accessibility
- customization for groups, whitelabeling our services or larger organizations (likely our largest revenue stream)
- should users not be able to find a product on our site, purchasing through us would earn us a referral fee
As a web service the project is very easily scalable - in fact with more users, more connections are formed, and more items can be shared - increasing the value for each user as we grow. At the same time the backend technology on unstash will be further optimized allowing us to offer even more simple and effective turn-key solutions for other organizations and groups to establish their own sharing communities.