A new breed of sharing apps hope to change the Spanish second-hand goods marketplace. Gratix, from Madrid, and Barcelona-based LendiApp allow consumers to give away, swap or borrow items. However, their goal is community-building, not cash flow.
Gratix was launched in 2018 by José María García (LinkedIn profile), a former director of apps and mobile innovation for Google. Based in Madrid, it bills itself as an app that will “change the world” and has been dubbed the “anti-Wallapop.” It focuses on the environmental impact of consumption and disposal, offering users a way to give away unwanted or unused items. Givers get good “karma” — a sort of reward/review scheme aimed to build confidence within the community.
In a LinkedIn post, Garcia wrote that Gratix has facilitated 5,000 sharing transactions since its debut and is “ready to [meet] a larger public.”
LendiApp operates in Barcelona. It is a geolocation-based lending site where users can post requests to borrow items from neighbors. Its mission, according to its LinkedIn page, is to “reduce consumption [and] create healthier and more cooperative communities.” Founder Javier Velasco (LinkedIn profile) came from a background in digital marketing.
Lending to strangers seems like a tough sell, but the LendiApp blog says more than 1,500 sharing transactions have been completed with no complaints. However, the app is looking to add an insurance feature in future.
Gratix and LendiApp are part of the second-hand marketplaces evolution that includes apps like Wallyboo, which allows both purchases and short-term rentals of items. Although these sharing apps are tiny compared to sites like Wallapop or Milanuncious, they are tapping into two growing trends:
- Their community-building functions appeal to younger urban audiences.
- They allow redistribution of usable, low-value items. It is not worth the effort to put a $5 item on Wallapop, but if there is a hassle-free tool to give it away, it is less likely to wind up in the trash.
While the core service may not be profitable, sharing apps have the potential to create value in other ways. Building trust and community can allow them to offer other services (such as LendiApp’s mooted insurance), gather data or facilitate events.