Vancouver impact-driven business spotlight: Quupe and the sharing economy
I was super excited to catch up with Angela who is the CEO and co-founder of Quupe. Quupe is a resource sharing platform, and the team of 5 are based here in Vancouver. They’ve accomplished a lot since they started building the platform in 2016, and have many exciting plans that they’ll be rolling out over the next little while. Read on to learn what Quupe is all about, and how they’re building a platform that’s changing the conversation around consumer consumption and the sharing economy.
Hi Angela! Can you introduce us to Quupe and the mission and vision of the business?
Yes! Quupe’s mission is to enable the world to share resources, and right now we are focussed on the sharing of physical resources. At this time, people are quite comfortable with Airbnb and the idea of sharing cars and space, and in coming up with the idea of Quupe the idea was to look at what else we can really do with the sharing economy.
I love the idea and the range of items that people put up on Quupe for others to rent out. There’s everything from paddleboards to VR headsets to patio heaters and lawnmowers. What was the biggest driver for you to create Quupe?
There are a lot of different impact pieces to Quupe. There’s the money saving aspect, the community piece, and the landfill diversion piece. The landfill element is the biggest driver, and the idea that there is all this stuff that people have sitting in the back of their cupboards that doesn’t see the light of day for months on end. I know I have a lot of things that don’t get used as well. So the biggest driver really was to get unused assets out into the world where they can be loved and used by many people.
Yes, I know in my place I have a number of items that are used perhaps a handful of time each year. So, looking back at when you launched your first product in February 2017, what would you say have been some of the biggest challenges?
Probably insurance. We initially started out with a guarantee of $1,000 which we moved up incrementally over time in response to what the platform was doing. It’s now at $10,000. As we moved it up we noticed an increased quality of items that were being posted. The amount of inventory has grown too and there are more transactions now, which is the biggest growth piece. We currently have 2,200 people signed up with the platform.
And how about pain points for the company?
I think the idea of growth in general. It’s challenging because there is so much opportunity with this business and so many things we can pursue and ideas to try. So really honing in on one aspect at a time and focussing on moving towards it.
What about a lesson you can share in your Quupe journey so far?
I know it’s cliche, but I think I’d have to say the importance of keeping balance in my life and prioritizing self-care. I had this idea of an entrepreneur and how they can be - very ambitious, very go go go, and burning the midnight oil. When I really tried to live that way it didn’t go well, my sleep suffered and I wasn’t showing up as my best self. When I noticed this I began to change things such as leaving my cell phone outside my bedroom. It’s done wonders. Reprioritizing has allowed me to show up in the business in a much healthier way.
So true, and so important. Taking care of yourself means you can take care of business! I’d love to know about Quupe’s plans for growth and where you see being in 3 years time?
We envision Quupe as a global business. My cofounders and I are all from 4 different countries, none of which are Canada. Vancouver is a wonderful city to grow the business from, and our goal within 3 years is to be present in many North American cities. We’re really excited about this next phase and have a couple of partnerships we’re working on which will make a big difference!
So exciting! And I know Quupe has celebrated a number of accomplishments this year right?
Yes! We’re thrilled to have been one of the top 10 finalists at this years New Ventures BC Awards, and go on to win the BC Tech Association Growth Programs award. That was really great for us, and we’re now connected to that community who have been so supportive. Quupe was also a semi-finalist for Pitch for the Purse - a program that aims to educate and mentor women across Canada who want to elevate their businesses and access new capital. We also received an innovation award from the Recycling Council of BC which was wonderful to be recognised by an important player in the sustainability space.
Congratulations! 2nd to last question: what books or podcasts have made a difference for you?
The Masters of Scale podcast hosted by Reid Hoffman is amazing, and it looks into companies that have grown from nothing to being huge. The first episode features someone from Airbnb which was really helpful for me.
Also, I’d recommend the Revisionist by Malcolm Gladwell, which is about seeing the world in different ways.
Awesome, thanks for sharing these! Final question - do you have any asks?
Yes! I’d love to hear from people who have an interest in minimalism and sharing resources. Please get in touch if you’d like to chat!