Enabling Startup Innovation: Trade “Sugar”
Before money, there was bartering. The ease of use and ubiquitousness of money has made it the more attractive and more convenient option, but a new online marketplace, called BarterSugar, believes it has identified an opportunity where sugar i.e. services, space and products, can be traded on an online platform instead of money.
The platform is free to sign onto and is specifically targeted at startups, providing two main benefits. Firstly, it facilitates collaborations by connecting different areas of specialism. Startups are usually run by small teams, which means that it’s common for companies not to have a full set of skills e.g. photography, graphic design, social media capability. BarterSugar provides startups with the opportunity to save precious finance by trading existing excess capacity or resources.
Layla Tabatabaie, founder and CEO of BarterSugar sums it up:
“Many people have services, empty spaces, and products that are under-utilised, but valuable to others who don’t have the know how or access, by allowing companies to connect with startups and arrange a trade, a benefit is provided to both parties without a monetary exchange.”
BarterSugar already serves hundreds of startups, small businesses and freelancers, 40% of whom are based in the U.S. Most common barter requests so far have been web development, legal services, graphic design and office space.
A prosperous global economy requires conditions where innovation is encouraged and has the potential to thrive. The current marketplace is an extremely challenging one and startups fail for a variety of reasons. BarterSugar doesn’t provide solutions for all of those problems, but it does offer another potential competitive edge in that innovative landscape.
Two other interlinking issues make BarterSugar’s innovation interesting. The potential for further maximising the use of assets, services and skills by integrating them into a bartering system, a model that fits in with the sharing economy movement. Moreover, there’s a question of whether money is still always the most effective and useful medium of exchange. Perhaps the power of platforms like BarterSugar can make trading asset for asset directly a more effective means, at least under certain conditions anyway.