Do you live in a big city and have no idea who your next-door neighbors are? Amsterdam-based start-up Peerby has the solution: an app that connects neighborhoods and encourages users to share their belongings with each other.

According to Peerby, a mindboggling 80 % of all items we own are used no more than once a month. On top of that, rapid urban development means that those of us living in big cities are becoming increasingly distant from our neighbors – complete strangers in the world’s most densely populated areas.

In a bid to remedy this situation, Peerby connects urban dwellers the way small town inhabitants usually are. The idea is simple: Users submit a request for an item they would like to borrow. Fellow users are notified of any requests in close proximity and if they feel like sharing the item within a swift 30 minutes, they can accept the request.

With Airbnb and Uber taking the sharing economy stratospheric (some estimates put the peer-to-peer rental market in the billions), Peerby deals with smaller, everyday items – for free. It’s the brainchild of Daan Weddepohl, who came up with the concept after his apartment burned down five years ago. Not only that, he had also lost his job and broken up with his girlfriend. Luckily, he had friends and family around him and they soon helped him realize that it’s not your possessions that are important. It’s the people you have around you.

“People are social animals,” says Weddepohl. “We like to help each other out. Borrowing is probably one of the oldest behaviors in nature; we’re just making it easier through technology.”

An old-fashioned approach brought to life in a very 21st century way, each month Peerby connects 100,000 borrowers and lenders across the Netherlands. Since its launch in 2012, the service has expanded to Belgium, Berlin, and London. And although there are countless of items already available – think drills, underwater cameras, or disco balls found in categories like Garden, Moving, and Party – the Dutch company is looking to grow its offerings, branching out to 50 US cities this year alone.

For more information, visit the Peerby website or follow them on Facebook or Twitter!

Region: Europe, USA
Price: free
System: iOS 7.0 or higher/ /Android 4.0 or higher
Size: 22,9 MB/ 17 MB

Header image: Peerby