Onfido joins ranks with SEUK to make the sharing economy the lingua franca

We’re delighted to announce that Onfido is now officially a member of SEUK – the UK based trade body dedicated to raising awareness of the sharing economy and driving its growth.

We are witnessing one of the biggest disruptions to traditional business models in recent times – a disruption that we haven’t seen since the dot com boom 20 years ago. As Debbie Wosskow, chair of SEUK notes,“If you look at the early days of online travel, those operators were very separate from traditional players. Now, big operators wouldn’t dream of not having an online presence.”

In May 2015, the Merriam-Webster added 1700 new words and terms to its ranks. Amongst them was the ‘sharing economy’. If being officially acknowledged by a dictionary is anything to go by, it’s certainly working its way into the mainstream.

But don’t let yourself be fooled. ‘To Uber’ may have become a part of our modern vernacular, but not everyone is familiar with this new language. For hundreds of sharing economy businesses, there remain numerous barriers to overcome before breaking through. We are fully supportive of SEUK’s mission to create a united voice for the sharing economy and ensure that those barriers – legislative or otherwise – are broken down.

Trust is a fundamental growth driver of the sharing economy. Without it, people would not share their cars, lend money or rent their spare rooms to strangers. Companies build in trust using a variety of different mechanics. Take carsharing: in its original form, hitch-hiking, drivers and passengers were entirely unverified and risk-levels were high. Today, platforms such as BlaBlaCar use systems such as profiles, social verification and ratings to minimise this risk.

However, this does not eliminate risk altogether. While knowing someone has a Facebook profile may be enough assurance for ‘millenial’ early-adopters, is this enough for their parents, and even their grandparents? Fact-based objective background checks are an essential ingredient for every sharing economy business and will increasingly be key to widespread adoption, regardless of age or gender.
By joining SEUK, Onfido is not only voicing its endorsement of the sharing economy; it actively works with many of its businesses to build trust into marketplaces, enabling these to grow and thrive.

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As Onfido’s co-founder and COO, Eamon runs a tight ship. He set up the company while studying at Oxford University and has been managing the company’s international growth and expansion ever since