Member Profile: Bright Neighbor
Bright Neighbor, founded in 2007, was one of the first peer-to-peer lending sites designed to facilitate a “sharing economy.” Users list needs, skills or unused items to barter through the platform, with a focus on the Portland, Oregon area. By encouraging reuse through community connections, Bright Neighbor hopes to reduce consumption and waste in a socially and environmentally sustainable manner.
Fee-based rentals and other paid services are in the works, enabling users to rent out items or businesses to lease inactive assets. Have a lawnmower sitting idle in your garage six days a week? Rent it out to your neighbors. Unused equipment in your warehouse? Put together an insured lease agreement. A new mobile app enables on-the-fly transactions and location-based searches.
Bright Neighbor makes a net profit on each fee-based transaction, but the company is currently seeking a $500k round of investment to accelerate growth and implement insurance offerings, legal services, and large equipment rentals.
Even with the expansion of business offerings, Bright Neighbor’s focus remains on building sustainable local economies, as they work with nonprofits and government agencies to facilitate what they call “Barter Philanthropy®.” In a recent pitch by founder Randy White and CEO Arnold Strong to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, a senior VA official pointed to a stack of computer equipment and said,
Do you mean you might be able to help me find a place […] for that stuff? Just in this building, there’s so much waste. Rather than track it and allocate it to someone who can use it, I have to tell you, we end up just buying a replacement, whether we need it or not. Your technology might curb overspending by improving the value we get from existing resources. I think I understand Bright Neighbor.