7 Start-ups Inspired By Craigslist

Brad Dorsey

3 min read ·


Craigslist brought classifieds to the online masses; these fast-growing companies are the niche next-generation of social buying and renting.

Location: Brooklyn, New York Founder: Campbell McKellar How it Works: Loosecubes matches people with an extra desk, studio, or office space with independent workers looking for a place to be productive. How it Makes Money: Hosts are charged a 10 percent fee for each transaction. By the Numbers: Loosecubes now offers spaces in 535 cities in 66 countries, making it the largest community marketplace for shared workspace in the world.

Location: San Francisco Founders: Shelly Roche, Jamie Wong How it Works: Locals create hand-crafted "experiences" offered to travelers seeking something more unique than a group bus tour. Travelers can browse the collection of experiences based on city. How it Makes Money: Vayable charges a 3 percent service fee to travelers and a 15 percent fee to guides. Origin Story: Co-founder Jamie Wong got the idea for the site after traveling extensively while working as a researcher for Michael Moore and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Location: San Francisco Founders: Nathan Blecharczyk, Brian Chesky, and Joe Gebbia How it Works: Instead of searching for a room in a hotel, travelers can book an extra room in a house or a vacant home for their trip directly from property owners. How it Makes Money: Airbnb collects a 3 percent fee on each reservation and a 6 to 12 percent booking fee. Fun Fact: After Gawker published the account of a San Francisco woman whose house was ransacked after renting through the site this summer, Airbnb stepped up its "Trust & Safety" center, adding a $50,000 host guarantee against vandalism.

Location: San Francisco Founders: Sam Zaid, Elliot Kroo, and Jessica Scorpio How it Works: Car owners earn money by renting out their unused vehicle through a peer-to-peer rental service. People in need of wheels for a day can get a car for a few dollars an hour. How it Makes Money: Getaround charges a 40 percent commission for car owners. Quote: "We don't have magic technology today, but we do have a lot of cars that aren't in use," CEO Sam Zaid says. "It doesn't make sense for 10 families on a street to each have a Suburban, each have a pickup truck. At some point it just make sense to share certain aspects when you don't need them all the time."

Location: San Francisco Founder: Leah Busque How it Works: Users list a variety of errands they need done, from picking up groceries at Whole Foods to photographing special events. Certified TaskRabbits bid to work on the tasks. How it Makes Money: Fees vary based on the price offer for each task, but TaskRabbit takes an average 15 percent fee of the offer price. Origin Story: The site launched by tapping a group desperately in need of errand-runners: a mother's association in Charlestown, Massachusetts. Busque put an ad in the moms' newsletter to gauge interest and the response was overwhelmingly positive.

Location: Boston Founders: Stefania Nappi Mallett, and Briscoe Rodgers How it Works: Through an online marketplace, EzCater connects users with local catering companies, plus provides reviews and recommendations from other users. How it Makes Money: EzCater charges a commission to caterers who list through the site. By the Numbers: EzCater just closed a $630,000 seed funding and now features 45,000 caterers in 49 states.

Location: San Francisco Founders: Helen Belogolova, Christine Yen How it Works: Event planners can search for venues from ballrooms to pubs based on location, capacity, ambiance, and fanciness. How it Makes Money: Venuetastic charges a 12 percent commission per event. Additional features such as offer multiple user accounts, site widgets and videos are available through plans starting at $93. Origin Story: The site was founded by two MIT alumnae who received money from startup incubator Y Combinator. They had the idea when they kept procrastinating planning alumni events because they didn't have time to research the capacity and availability of different venues.

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Brad Dorsey