Shared Economy in Tel Aviv
Words: Jenna Romano
Tel Aviv is a smart and progressive city, which is why it’s no surprise that the city has been quick to embrace the sharing economy. The sharing economy innovates for collaboration, challenges our preconceived notions of consumption, and highlights the benefits of a cooperative world where sharing trumps competition.
Bird, a shared transportation app which is available in over 100 cities worldwide, loans out electric scooters to urban commuters. Bird users can simply open the smartphone application to find a nearby scooter, ride from point A to point B, and park the scooter at the end of their journey wherever they please. Last summer, Bird launched in Tel Aviv. According to Yaniv Rivlin, the General Manager of Bird Tel Aviv, since then one out of every ten residents have used a Bird.
“The success in Tel Aviv can be attributed to the weather, the close distance to the beach, and the fact that its a young city full of millennials,” Rivlin says. “Because the kibbutz mentality is embedded in Israeli society, people understand that they don’t need to own some things. They’re alright using a resource like a shared scooter and leaving it for someone else.”
Part of Bird’s long-term plan is to tackle car ownership and reduce pollution in the urban environment – but the direct benefits to the community and positive change is already evident. Bird provides easy, fun and convenient transportation for residents who don’t own a car, and the Bird Charger community recruits locals to round up stray scooters at the end of the day and charge them in exchange for extra cash.
Tel Aviv is an ideal base for freelancers, but independent workers have always faced a challenge when it comes to office spaces. Private office spaces are pricey, and though working from a café is an option, solitude and bizarre hours are mutually excluded from developing a reliable community of co-workers.
The solution is the creation of co-working spaces, which are becoming more widespread in Tel Aviv. Damndesign is a clever example. It’s a collaborative working space that caters specifically to design-oriented individuals. Architect Adi Mor and graphic designer Dana Arnon founded the co-working space about two years ago, envisioning a space that would give them freedom and inspiration, alongside a community of like-minded professionals.
Damndesign members run the gamut from creative writers to freelance photographers. Not only does each member have a key to the office, they also have the opportunity to take advantage of the collaborative community: Brainstorming with one another, developing a wider professional network and sometimes even using one another’s creative services.
Solving other common issues in the freelance world is a profound new platform, Bilance which launched in August 2018. For freelancers, Bilance’s platform gives them better access to employment opportunities, and for companies, the platform helps them find the right worker at the right time.
A system like this is crucial to Tel Aviv’s start-up scene, where the capacity for work depends on a business’s vitality. It also opens up doors for freelancers to develop their work, learn new methods, meet new people, and hold on to their independant status.
Bilance representative Dana Sheleff explains, “The sharing economy model is the main inspiration behind Bilance. A few years ago, business owners never imagined they would sit in the same workings spaces with other businesses, and now it’s growing rapidly, since it enables you to deal with a dynamic environment as a manager. Same is for the human capital, you cannot always predict the capacity required for the business, and you wish to keep to good employees with you for a long time.”
Food lovers who find themselves in Tel Aviv have every reason to rejoice thanks to EatWith, a food-oriented online platform for local cooks who host dinners for guests from their home. EatWith empowers hosts to nurture their cooking skills in their home environment and offers guests a friendly, unique and personal dining experience.
“Our hosts use our platform to share their passion for food, host events, and meet new people, Maya Lustig, EatWith’s Tel Aviv event manager, says. “Our guests use our platform to seek and attend our hosts’ events.”
Tel Aviv’s sharing economy provides residents with a fresh look at the possibilities of what we can do with resources we already have while strengthening community ties. This is only a start, but these examples show the endless possibilities of sharing in the White City.