San Francisco startup Omni wants to make all your stuff part of ‘sharing economy’

By now most Silicon Valley technophiles have tried car sharing and home sharing. But one Bay Area startup wants you to share more — as in everything you own.

San Francisco-based Omni this week launches a new feature designed to make it easy for users to share neglected belongings with friends, relatives, acquaintances, neighbors … or whoever. The idea is to take the “sharing economy” to the next level by giving more people access to that bicycle, leaf blower or camping gear that’s been sitting untouched in your garage for months. Omni’s lofty long-term goal is one often heard in the sharing market that includes giants Uber, Lyft and Airbnb — to change the way people think about “owning” belongings.

Omni started out as an on-demand storage service for San Francisco residents. Customers use the app to summon an Omni worker to their door, they hand off the items they want stored, and the worker whisks them away to a warehouse in SoMa. Customers pay a monthly fee per item — 50 cents for small items and $3 for large items.

With the launch of Omni’s new sharing service, San Francisco customers can use the app to let other people borrow their belongings. Once they’ve been granted access, the friend can set a time to have the item delivered.

“Lending enables Omni members to put their ‘dormant’ belongings to good use in their community,” Omni founder and CEO Tom McLeod wrote in a news release.

As a special promotion this month, Omni users can borrow anything in the Omni HQ account — a trove that includes bicycles, outdoor gear, tools, kitchen gadgets and picnic equipment.

Omni has raised $10 million from investors including Highland Capital Partners, according to data from CrunchBase.

Photo: An Omni van parks in front of the Painted Ladies in San Francisco. (Omni)


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  • Tired of Nonsense

    In the old San Francisco of my youth we used to call this having friends and communicating with them We didn’t need a cyber intermediary. We met our neighbors, pooled resources with them, and were able to own less. But then we lived in the same houses or even the same apartments most of our lives. We had a sense of community. For the real estate profiteers and suburban-values millionaires who are taking over now, i guess just getting to know your neighbors and talking to them is too old-fashioned.