Compare & Share

Zipcar members are well aware of the benefits of sharing rather than owning, at least when it comes to convenient on-street access to cars and vans. Now Compare & Share, the world’s first marketplace for sharing lets you search for sharing services near you. I spoke to Benita Matofska, Founder of Compare and Share to tell us a little more about what they do:

Zipcar: So who are you guys and what do you do?

Benita Matofska: At Compare and Share we’re building the world’s first marketplace to help people compare all the things that are available to them through the Sharing Economy. It’s about making sharing easy and accessible to everyone.

ZC: How did this all start?

BM: I used to spend the entire weekend trying to book a family holiday; we’re not hotel-types, we’re quite adventurous and we like to meet local people and visit the more unusual sites. To get the kind of experiences we wanted meant registering on a number of sites, which was a nightmare, even as a BBC trained researcher! There were no products out there, which allowed us to find what we were looking for, so we created our own in Compare and Share.

ZC: So what is the Sharing Economy?

BM: I get asked that a lot - and I finally have penned a first attempt at explaining it in my blog post for The People Who Share - but essentially it’s about sharing “stuff” - your car, home, tools, skills, etc - and accessing goods and items when you need them rather than owning them.  Access vs. ownership is one of the clear definers in understanding the Sharing Economy, and identifying the organisations and businesses that are building it. Zipcar is a prime example of this new business model.

ZC: What kinds of business are operating in the sphere now?

BM: The variety of the Sharing Economy is incredible. Our directory currently lists over 7,000 Sharing Economy businesses, which includes services like peer-to-peer goods exchange, short-term accommodation rentals, peer-to-peer lending, task services, skill sharing platforms and car sharing services like Zipcar. The extent of the Sharing Economy is quite remarkable and it has the potential to influence our lifestyle choices in a positive way.  

Take Zipcar, they recognised the need for an alternative solution to car ownership in urban areas, which causes massive congestion problems and damages the environment. But they also realised that people enjoyed the freedom and convenience of driving, so built their businesses model around the idea of: “hey, I want a car when I need it, without having to deal with it when I don’t!” – It’s this approach which has been so successful for Zipcar and it’s something that other organisations are now beginning to adopt.
ZC: Compare and Share started with Car and Ride Sharing and has recently launched Accomodation, what's next?
BM: For starters, we’re Oxford Jam’s Official Travel Partner. Oxford Jam is a leading social entrepreneurship event that runs in parallel to the Skoll World Forum from April 9th to the 11th. It’s loads of fun! We’re helping people get there through car/ride sharing and stay in fantastic, unique and affordable accommodation through our partners such as Zipcar, Homeaway and Housetrip. Compare and Share will soon be able to offer 1 million places to stay all over the world, which is a very exciting prospect! 
We also run our annual Global Sharing Day event which is on the 1st of June, we have over 200 organisations involved and last year we reached 70 million people around the world. It’s a key event within the Sharing Economy and we want everyone to be involved. 
Finally, expect some new features on our website in the coming months!
Here’s to Sharing!
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