TurnYourTime, the latest collaborative consumption startup to emerge on the Berlin scene, has launched – and while there are more than a few similar models out there already, such as Gidsy and Airbnb, what separates TurnYourTime is that it isn’t being run for profit.
Instead, the sole aim is to improve community relations away from the computer. Using the German capital as a launchpad, it maps where services or things for sale are being offered. Money can still change hands but it is done in person and not through the site.
With less stress on profit making, TurnYourTime hopes to facilitate more willingness to make connections and improve neighborhood interaction.
Founder Sergiej Rewiakin, originally from Russia, told Silicon Allee that he thinks technology is adversely affecting communities: “We saw huge disproportion in spending time online and actual time when we meet each other in a real life. With the amount of mobile devices and wifi connections, there is less and less time for a small friendly chat.”
This isn’t Sergiej’s first experience with collaborative consumption. He earned his stripes working at CouchSurfing, for which he was the 30th employee. He has spent time all over the world, but says he was always struck by the lack of social contact: “I’ve lived and worked in different cities: Boston, NYC, Moscow, London – and everywhere I saw the same picture. People try to make money and have very little time for themselves. I moved to Berlin three years ago and fell in love with the city – I have been preaching ideas of collaborative consumption ever since.”
TurnYourTime is a free platform but it lacks the security that comes with paying online, where there is more of a commitment – monetary transactions make people less like to cancel. On Gidsy, for example, customers pay up front to the site and the money is transferred after the event takes place – if somebody cancels a week prior to the activity offered, the service provider gets 50 percent of the money, while if there is a cancellation two days before, the provider gets all of it.
Yet with TurnYourTime the sentiment is certainly there to create better communities. Sergiej added: “There are lots of passionate people that could help each other on a local level. Any handmaking service, neighboring help, babysitting, language classes, music, dance, programming etc could be found next door. Even selling or buying furniture when you are moving could not be easier when you you trade it locally.”
If it’s a success, the platform will be rolled out in other cities.