Divvy.com lets friends share items, pay as they use them

While jogging around Lake Union with a friend, Divvy.com Founder and CEO Aaron Freed began to brainstorm a creative new way to share an asset, such as a car, between a community of friends without the hassle of scheduling conflicts and money exchange.

This past January, Freed was presented with the ideal situation to test his concept. He lived in a condominium complex in Seattle which payed $2,500 a month for a community car from an outside company. The condominium association decided they wanted to find a less expensive, hassle-proof solution for a community vehicle.

They turned to Freed, who offered to design a Web site that would allow the condominium homeowners the opportunity to rent a community car by signing up for a time-slot online and paying through a pre-set PayPal system. This would eliminate scheduling conflicts and make paying for vehicle time a cinch. The condo association decided to lease a Toyota Prius Hybrid, saving the condominium community more than $1,400 a month by allowing them to set up their own community car share.

“We completed that project in February and I thought to myself: why stop with just the car? What about a system for reserving and paying for all the other amenities?” Freed asked himself. “Thus Divvy was born; an erector set for building your own reservation system.”

With the success of the first trial run, Freed continued to pursue other community-based ventures and groups that would benefit from an online rental system like Divvy.com. With Divvy, underused assets can be used more and costs are defrayed through several people instead of one person absorbing the cost.

“Condominiums are an under-served market when it comes to automated scheduling; management companies and community web service providers are excellent partners for that vertical,” Freed added.

Community uses of Divvy include condo residents booking their common amenities, company employees scheduling financial advice sessions, and a coworking space scheduling desks. Divvy also works with churches to schedule Sunday school rooms, fitness clubs for scheduling spa services and group classes, and community associations for scheduling its facilities.

Overlake Hospital in Bellevue is using Divvy in conjunction with Lucid Advisors to schedule financial planning meetings for Overlake employees. The Sammamish Club uses Divvy to make front desk and class scheduling a breeze.

“We decrease cost and increase benefit sharing with friends and community members,” said Freed, a distinguished graduate of the United States Air Force Academy with a degree in Operations Research. Freed also holds a Masters degree in Operations Research from Stanford University and a Masters in Organizational Management from George Washington University.

Divvy allows a company, group, business, community or individual to sign up and create an account for an item, whether it be a meeting space, parking spot, vehicle, or other desired item for rental use.

The account can then be personalized to include a calendar of times and dates the item or place can be used and the cost per hour or per use. The item for rent is only made visible to those who are personally invited by the account owner. This is where Divvy differs from sites such as Craigslist.

Divvy is a rental exchange system between a community of friends, family, and business partners, said Freed. This ensures only friends and family members will be borrowing your things, not some stranger off the street.

Divvy also has the capability to offer peer-to-peer applications which currently include an airplane owner renting out his airplane to his pilot friends, a couple with a parking space they rarely use who are making it available to their friends and neighbors on an hourly basis, and Freed, who rents his Vespa to his friends for $5 an hour using Divvy.

“So many things are going unused at any moment in time,” explained Jenny Hall, CMO of Divvy. Hall rents out her car for use to her friends while it sits in the parking lot during her work hours. “If my friends can benefit from something I own that isn't being used then why not offer an easy way to make that happen.”

Lindsay Larin can be reached at 425.453.4602.

Find out more about Divvy by visiting www.divvy.com.