Graphic: A Timeline of Corporations in the Collaborative Economy

Crowds are on the rise, backed by powerful technology.
The collaborative economy is a powerful movement. People are sharing goods, services, space, and money with each other. Also, they are crowd funding and making their own products outside of traditional factories. They are using powerful technologies, including social networks, mobile devices, the internet of things and mobile payment systems. In all cases, they’re getting what they need from each other, rather than from inefficient corporations. This peer-to-peer commerce economy is enabling the crowd to become like a company, disrupting traditional business models. It’s also going to double in adoption, says our recent report.

Companies are joining the movement, partnering with the crowd.
Innovative and bold brands have already joined in the movement, leading the charge to integrate the strategies of crowd funding, sharing and making into their own business models. Some early adopters, like REI, share the company revenues and equity with the crowd in their coop models. Other companies, like West Elm, Nordstrom and GE are allowing the crowd to design their products alongside them. Companies like Ford partner with Uber to give drivers discounts. Walgreens tapped TaskRabbit to deliver goods to homes, extending the brand promise.

[Over 80 leading brands have joined this peer-to-peer Collaborative Economy, tapping the crowd as a partner.]

Lists are helpful in tracking industries. They help us to organize, analyze and predict where markets are headed. As such, I’ve been keeping a list of brands in the collaborative economy for about a year (along with help from submissions from the crowd, naturally). About ten years ago, we used to keep similar lists in the social media space. We used to track companies that started blogs, twitter accounts and more in the nascent “user generated content” movement.

Fast forward ten years, the next movement is among us. As companies were disrupted by social media, they adapted. Companies disrupted by this new peer economy are also adapting. We’re at the start of another ten year run, and I’m 100% committed to helping corporations through this movement, as I launched Crowd Companies, an association for big brands only, to help them get involved, learn, and lead.

Graphic: A Growing List of Crowd Companies:
The timeline graphic you see below isn’t complete. There are many other submission that are coming in, and more that I’ve missed. To help keep it updated, you can leave a comment on this post, or send me an email at To see this same graphic as a frequency chart, you can see the growth as companies quickly move in.


Swisscom and partnered for crowd-based services related to telecom.
Gap offers shared workforce solutions with local bike sharing
Metlife partners with Lyft to provide insurance to drivers and riders
Media company Dominion Marine partners with Boatbound

Thank you, Vladimir Mirkovic and Julie G., for your help in production and research. Thanks to Lisa Gansky, Fred Neil, Alexandra Samuel, Terry Young, Angus Nelson, and Vivian Wang for your insights.

Want to learn more? Collaborative Economy Resources:


47 Replies to “Graphic: A Timeline of Corporations in the Collaborative Economy”

  1. Add Waze! 2013: 50 million drivers in nearly 200 countries work together to report and avoid traffic via the free navigation app; purchased by Google in June 2013.

  2. Thanks Julie. I considered that, it feels like a media and information play more than sharing of the physical goods at first blush –but then when you think about it, it results in the immediate impact of the physical highways being changed. Let me stew on this more.

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