11 fascinating “peer incorporated” businesses

TED Blog

Robin Chase, the founder of Zipcar, is proud of her company’s emphasis on sharing. But now, a decade later, “it’s really time to push the envelope,” she says in today’s talk filmed at TEDGlobal 2012. Chase’s latest venture, Buzzcar, provides an online platform for people in France to rent cars from their friends and neighbors. “Instead of investing in a car, we invest in a community,” Chase says. “We bring the power of a corporation to individuals.”

Companies like Buzzcar are commonly described as “peer-to-peer,” but Chase prefers the phrase “Peers Incorporated,” which implies not only sharing among members of a network, but also the involvement of a corporation as a go-between. In other words, Peer Inc. companies marry a corporate side—which uses economies of scale, resources, expertise and standards to create a platform—with a peer side, whose diversity, specialization, and innovation yield services and products. “The two…

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