(Editor’s note: This post about Peerby is part of our Tech Tuesday series. Dispatches Europe tracks the tech scene – startups, scale-ups and mature companies – because so many of our highly skilled internationals are engineers, physicists and developers.)
For example, Amsterdam-based circular sharing platform Peerby.com recently raised 2.3 million euros from investors for a pretty nifty idea. Say you need a trailer to haul furniture home from Ikea, a one-time thing.
Do you spend hundreds of euros to buy a trailer?
You do not.
You borrow it via Peerby. As Peerby’s Twitter feed states: “Borrow the things you need from people in your neighborhood! Save money, live green and meet awesome people. Sharing prosperity.”
The announcement of the investment follows a period of rapid growth and coincides with the 10th anniversary, hundreds of crowdfunders becoming co-owners and the first profitable month of the platform after launching a revamped model in 2019, according to a news release.
That revamp has paid off: an amazing one out of four households in its headquarters city of Amsterdam is a Peerby member.
“The support from members, crowdfunders and professional investors confirms that everyone is eager for an alternative to today’s hyperconsumption,” stated Daan Weddepohl, Peerby founder and CEO stated in the release. “We’ve always had social and ecological impact and the challenge was to become financially sustainable.
“Now that we have achieved profitability, the time is ripe to make neighborhood sharing mainstream.”
Investors in impact and technology
The investment round was led by Toronto-based tech and impact venture fund Loyal, with additional capital from Dutch impact investor Shamrock Ventures and existing shareholders, including hundreds of crowdfunders.
Peerby executives will use the investment to increase impact including entering medium-sized Dutch cities including Eindhoven where the team strives to reach the same level of market penetration as in headquarters Amsterdam.
Peerby executives also plan to take the concept international, with operations in Belgium and rollouts to other countries planned for late 2022 and 2023.
“Peerby – besides being a great impact story – is a testament to the power of persistence,” stated Kamal Hassan, founding partner at Loyal V, in the release. “Others have struggled to implement this obvious concept, since it has challenging economics. Daan and his team have accumulated years of customer insights and iterated every aspect of their model to crack their industry’s code.”
Membership and supporters get credit
The financial success of the revamped platform is due to the introduction of a paid membership for borrowers, according to team members. Peerby’s revenue grew by 222 percent in 2021 and 200 percent in 2020, with supporters inviting neighbors to join Peerby’s digital neighborhood sharing shed.
That virtual shed is now filled with more than half a million shared products.
Crowdfunders opt for Peerby shares
And this is a really interesting twist to solving the early stage funding puzzle that is the Netherlands.
Nine hundred crowdfunders, who provided the company with a loan five years ago, were given the opportunity to convert their loan into shares as a result of the investment. A vast majority opted for conversion, and 40 percent of them invested in additional shares, according to the release.
More purchasing power thanks to circular economy, less climate change
Peerby falls into the category of a social-impact startup. And in 2022, that’s a good thing.
Recent research by,Dutch environmental research institute Milieu Centraal concludes consumers can reduce their climate impact through circular choices such as sharing and borrowing. “Peerby is the perfect proof that a company can combine impact at scale with a profitable business model, stated Tommy Hurley, managing partner at Shamrock Ventures.
Peerby.com enables neighbors to share all kinds of goods, such as tools, electronics, bicycles and garden, camping and party gear for free or for a fee. Peerby launched the world’s first working goods sharing platform in 2012. The objective, to connect neighbors and reduce waste and emissions, generated lots of recognition, investments and awards. An expansion to 30 cities in Europe and the US followed. When the financial model proved untenable in 2017, the startup was forced to pivot in search of a new model. It launched a revamped platform in 2019.
About Loyal VC
Loyal VC is a Toronto-based tech and impact fund that invests in INSEAD and Founder Institute alumni worldwide. Loyal uses a unique and transparent investment process; It steps in early with small amounts to monitor performance. Periodically, the best-performing companies in the portfolio receive offers for additional investment.
About Shamrock Ventures
Shamrock Ventures is a Dutch venture capital fund that focuses on early stage investments in mission-driven tech startups in the Netherlands. Shamrock Ventures started in 2021 under the direction of Tommy Hurley and was co-founded by a group of experienced entrepreneurs, who have made their mark with companies such as Elastic, New Motion and BUX.