Peer-to-Peer Bike RentalsDid you know that there are over a billion bicycles on Earth, with around 100 million just in the United States? Sadly, not all of those are used daily, so there's a lot of room to increase the usage of those bikes by getting unused bikes to the people who want to use them (either from individuals or bike rental shops). That's what Spinlister, a young startup, wants to do. They want to make peer-to-peer bike rentals a reality in the same way that AirBnB facilitated P2P rentals in the real-estate world.
It's Real, and Getting Moreso
Spinlister is a young company, but they aren't just a vaporware shop. Their system is now live in both New York and San Francisco and they are getting ready to launch nationally in the fall, along with the launch of a new smartphone app to make using their services more convenient.
Obviously there are issues with the model that Spinlister will need to address to succeed, just like AirBnB has to prove itself at first and show it could deal with things well if something went wrong. You can see some of the security features of Spinlister on this page (things like insurance, identity verification, user feedback, etc). The way it's set up, it should benefit from the network effect just like eBay and Amazon did. If they can reach a critical number of users who show others that the system works, provide trustworthy feedback, etc... They should do fine. The hard part is getting to that critical mass. I certainly wish them the best of luck, and if I'm ever in a strange city and feel like riding a bike, I'll think of them!