Just as owners of homes are able to monetize their property on Airbnb, and drivers can use their cars to make extra cash via Uber and Lyft, ShareGrid helps industry pros put their gear to work for them -— even when they’re not on a shoot.
How it started: ShareGrid, a peer-to-peer gear marketplace for filmmakers and creatives, is the brainchild of founders Brent Barbano, Arash Shiva, and Marius Ciocirlan — all creatives themselves. In 2013, Barbano, a DP, was working on a documentary that highlighted the sharing economy when the inspiration hit him to create a sharing network for filmmakers. He connected with product designers Shiva and Ciocirlan, and the trio began to develop the concept. In advance of launching the service, they posted an ad on Facebook that resulted
in 3,000 sign-ups.
The launch: ShareGrid debuted in 2015 in Los Angeles, billing itself as “a website where filmmakers and photographers can rent gear to and from each other locally.” The main lure: Members get value from their equipment when they’re not using it, just as homeowners can rent out space on Airbnb. All members are screened, and rentals are insured through a partnership with Athos Insurance. Within months the service expanded to New York. This month it launches in Atlanta.
Fast growth: ShareGrid says it offers more than $100 million in inventory and has handled thousands of rentals to date. Its success has drawn support from funder MHS Capital and film-industry investor Archer Gray, which has helped raise a $1 million in seed money to expand the model to more cities across the U.S.
Networking: The company is looking to organize events that will connect members and help train them in new technologies. It operates a YouTube channel and blogs that highlight original content created by members. “It’s a collaborative industry first and foremost,” Barbano says. “We want to provide a channel for ShareGrid members to share their experiences.”