The Rise of the sharing economy: How Uber and Airbnb disrupted traditional industries

The sharing economy refers to an economic system where individuals can rent or share their assets, such as homes, cars, and other goods or services, to other individuals in exchange for payment. This concept has gained popularity in recent years with the rise of companies such as Uber, Airbnb, and TaskRabbit.

Here is a timeline of the rise of the sharing economy, from the founding of Uber and Airbnb to their impact on traditional industries:

  • 2008: Airbnb is founded by Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia in San Francisco. The concept is to allow homeowners to rent out their homes to travelers looking for cheaper and more unique accommodation options than hotels.
  • 2009: Uber is founded by Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp in San Francisco. The idea is to connect riders with drivers through a smartphone app, allowing for on-demand transportation.
  • 2010: Airbnb expands to international markets and begins to gain popularity among budget-conscious travelers.
  • 2011: Uber expands to New York City, its first major market outside of San Francisco, and begins to face legal challenges from traditional taxi companies and local governments.
  • 2012: Airbnb reaches 10 million nights booked and expands to offer experiences, such as cooking classes and tours, in addition to accommodations.
  • 2013: Uber launches UberX, a lower-cost option that allows ordinary people to use their personal cars to transport passengers, and expands to international markets.
  • 2014: Uber becomes embroiled in controversy over safety and liability issues, including a high-profile incident in which an Uber driver in San Francisco struck and killed a young girl.
  • 2015: Airbnb raises $1.5 billion in funding and expands to Cuba, becoming the first major US company to do so since the country’s revolution in 1959.
  • 2016: Uber faces increasing legal challenges and public scrutiny over issues such as driver pay and treatment of female employees. Airbnb faces backlash from local residents and governments who argue that short-term rentals are driving up housing prices and hurting communities.
  • 2017: Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick resigns as CEO following a series of scandals, including allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination. Airbnb expands its offerings to include luxury rentals and experiences targeted at affluent travelers.
  • 2018: Uber goes public in one of the largest initial public offerings in history, but struggles with declining stock prices and ongoing legal challenges. Airbnb announces plans to launch its own branded apartment complexes, further disrupting the traditional hospitality industry.
  • 2019: Uber and Lyft drivers go on strike to protest low pay and lack of benefits, bringing attention to the gig economy and the labor issues associated with it. Airbnb faces increasing regulation and opposition from local governments, with cities such as Paris and Amsterdam imposing stricter rules on short-term rentals.
  • 2020: The COVID-19 pandemic hits the sharing economy hard, with both Uber and Airbnb experiencing significant declines in demand as travel grinds to a halt. However, both companies pivot to offer new services such as Uber Eats and Airbnb Online Experiences to adapt to the changing market.