In mid-November, Lauren Graham (BA ’14) and Hannah Salwen (BA ’16) will launch Mootch, a online platform and app for on-demand peer-to-peer and business-to-consumer renting of everyday goods—including pick-up and delivery. The idea behind Mootch is simple: offer a secure, user-friendly mobile app that allows users either to safely rent items or to make money by sharing their items. The app grew out of the collaboration between Graham and Salwen when they were both undergraduates at Gallatin. Says Salwen, “People have tried to make peer-to-peer renting mainstream but with little to no success. We asked ourselves why and, through much trial and error, we think we've found out the secret formula to making p2p renting a 'thing' once and for all.” The two refined their idea for the 2014 NYU Stern Venture Competition $200K Entrepreneur Challenge, and became the only undergraduates to make it to the final rounds out of 250 teams; Mootch was named as one of five finalists. Those interested in “mootching,” can sign up beginning November 19.
Another exploration of the sharing economy comes from Transfernation, a non-profit which seeks to redistribute food for the benefit of those in need. In October 2014, Hannah Dehradunwala (BA ’16) and Samir Goel (STERN ’16) officially launched the non-profit which has received support from Clinton Global Initiative and from The Resolution Project. Both organizations help train and fund the next generation of socially responsible entrepreneurs. In the coming year, Dehradunwala and Goel plan to offer a mobile app and corresponding website designed to address the problem of hunger by taking excess food left over from corporate events and giving it to social institutions that feed the hungry. Dehradunwala says, “We knew that if a viable, easy alternative to throwing food away existed, people would use it.” The project will start in New York City, and will allow corporations to create an account and note when they are having a major event which will result in have leftover food. At that point, Transfernation will match them with a social institution in need of donations. The founders plan to roll out programs in Oxford, UK and Karachi, Pakistan later this academic year.