A recent report by Piper Jaffray highlights the emergence of the sharing economy as a major investment theme, fuelled by changes in consumer behaviour and enabled by technology. Clearly $bns of have been created, and multi $bn industries are being disrupted. One of the leading lights of the sharing economy in Europe is BlaBlaCar which has raised >$100mn from Index and Accel, for its ride sharing service, but there are also many others.
A lot of the buzz in the sharing economy has been around sharing of consumer assets, but we are also seeing innovative ideas in the B2B market coming forward, essentially offering "Product-as-a-Service" in return for recurring revenues. This is a very interesting space, and one to watch!
It is worth noting that the sharing economy is not a phenomenon created by the internet, but rather its velocity has been increased by it. Consumers began renting out second homes, leasing boat motors, and carpooling long before the internet became widely available.