Friday, January 21, 2011

Consumed in collaboration

Consume, consume, consume: it's been our mantra for decades now. It's been fun, but after every party comes the hangover-laden cleanup. The developed world is slowly coming to the uncomfortable realization that an economy dependent on consumption will devour itself once the snack table has been emptied, just as the developing world is coming to the realization that it would be nice if they could play, too.

At some level, we all know that our current behavior is unsustainable. What we don't necessarily know, is how to change it. One idea that is gaining traction is collaborative consumption, which is essentially the idea that we can actually share some of our things. Highly radical concept, isn't it? Hardly surprising that nobody thought of it before. But I digress...

While collaborative consumption might be a good idea, it will remain largely an idea until enough people get behind it. And the reality is that we remain in a consumer-driven economy, so money is an important ingredient in getting those people behind it. That's where Collaborative Fund comes in.

Collaborative Fund is the baby of Craig Shapiro, a marketing guru who has a history of investing in fascinating technology-driven startups. Which is pretty much what Collaborative Fund intends to do.

The $6 million fund aims to invest in collaborative, values-driven startups. Examples include entrepreneurial community ProFounder, learning games developer MindSnacks, and home-cooked food promoter Gobble.

To see how collaborative consumption is impacting our world, watch this video, presented by Collaborative Fund Venture Adviser Rachel Botsman:

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