Airbnb will capitalize on its success by expanding into more aspects of travel, founder Joe Gebbia said today in London at LeWeb, but it will work with car-sharing companies to build the collaborative economy rather than competing with them.
As startups have cropped up promising to be “the Airbnb of” some other sector — parking, for example — tech industry watchers have begun to wonder what sectors besides accommodations. With car-sharing the second-most developed vertical for sharing, it has seemed a likely candidate.
Gebbia echoed recent remarks by co-founder Brian Chesky that Airbnb would expand into more aspects of the travel experience. He declined to provide more details, but specifically ruled out moving into the car-sharing space.
The reason could be inferred from remarks by Gebbia and Airbnb’s head of community Douglas Atkin. Under pressure from government regulations that, in some places, outlaw Airbnb rentals and car-sharing services, the pioneer of the sharing economy will band with its comrades in arms to build grassroots, or arguably astroturf, support for the sharing economy.
Asked about regulations, Gebbia said, “Policymakers adjust to meet the demands of the people.”
And Atkin announced work with car-sharing companies and TaskRabbit to help support a “movement” to help expand the sharing economy.
The effort, Atkin said, “will use peer power to grow sharing economy and overcome unfair obstacles.” Among such unfair obstacles were outmoded laws.
Participating in the effort are RelayRides, Lyft, Airbnb, SideCar and TaskRabbit.