Sharetings is a hyper-local, peer-to-peer, waste-reduction mobile marketplace that empowers individuals to make more environmentally conscious decisions by enabling them to share, swap, or save usable items instead of disposing of them or purchasing new ones. By leveraging the power of community and technology, Sharetings encourages sustainable consumption and helps reduce waste and carbon emissions.
The story of Sharetings is not just about starting another sharing or community app, but also about the values that have shaped and powered it to become what it is today and it is a ”For You, By Youth” ground up initiative. Read on to find out more about our story. – Jonathan How (Founder, Sharetings)
Starting Sharetings was a journey filled with both challenges and rewards. As a young person with a passion for sustainability and technology, I was driven by a desire to make a positive impact on the world. Just like many other Singaporeans, I grew up in an average family, I had always been a beneficiary of preloved items, whether it was clothing, textbooks, or food. I knew firsthand how much it meant to receive these items, and I wanted to create a platform that would allow others to experience the same sense of generosity and kindness.
At the same time, I saw firsthand the amount of waste that was generated in my community. I noticed that people were throwing away perfectly good items at HDB void decks or even in the university hall of residences, and many had the perception that these items were faulty or no longer working. However, based on what I observed around my neighborhood, most of the items were still functional and some were even brand new. It seemed like a shame that while some people were throwing away usable things, others were struggling to afford basic necessities like clothing and furniture. In Chinese, we call it ‘很浪费‘.
In my time in the army, I also saw the amount of food waste that was generated on a daily basis. It was clear to me that there was a gap to be filled and a problem to be solved. With the encouragement of my friends, I decided to start Sharetings when I was an undergraduate at NTU. It is a platform that would not only enable people to share and exchange usable items but also promote sustainable consumption and reduce waste.
Building Sharetings was a journey that was extremely challenging. Unlike other sharing apps, we did not have the benefit of venture funding, and I did not have much work experience or networks to draw upon. This made it difficult to find people who were willing to take a chance on my idea and work with me to bring it to fruition. I spent many hours searching and learning, trying to find the proper knowledge and the right people to join me on this journey.
”Oh you are too young”, ”haiya, this won’t work one la, don’t waste your time”, ”Give him 2 years, after that confirm Sharetings will toh one” was the common rejections that I faced.
Despite facing numerous rejections and sometimes wondering if I should continue or abandon the project, I was determined to bring my vision for a more sustainable and equitable society to life. I tried to apply first principles reasoning in everything I did, always assuming that I was wrong and working to find ways to be less wrong.
There were many setbacks and challenges along the way, including developers who abandoned projects halfway through. But perhaps the biggest challenge I faced in the early days of Sharetings was the fact that I had to do most of the work by myself. Without a team or resources to rely on, I had to wear many hats and take on a wide range of responsibilities in order to get Sharetings off the ground. This included everything from finding the right people to collaborating with remote teams in designing and developing the platform to marketing it and engaging with users.
It was a lot of hard work, and I am by no means perfect. I made many mistakes along the way and learned from them. But I was determined to persevere and make my vision a reality. Building Sharetings has been 4 years plus journey and it is not an easy task, but it was worth it. I am grateful for the opportunity to make a positive impact on the world and for the support of the people who have helped me along the way. (Shout out to the folks from NEA, South West CDC, NUS, and NTU.)
Not Just Another Sharing App.
I started Sharetings with the goal of creating a sharing platform that promotes kindness and generosity, rather than simply facilitating transactions. My hope was that it would become a place where people could not only share their belongings but also exchange words of love and gratitude. I wanted Sharetings to be a platform that encourages a ripple effect of kindness, where givers can spread joy through sharing, and takers can spread joy through gratitude and sharing their experiences with others. The quote ‘We don’t earn much, but let’s help them’ has always resonated with me and inspired me to create a platform where kindness can be amplified.
In addition to sharing, we have also integrated various features that our users may find valuable. As a “For You, From Youth” initiative, we always put ourselves in the shoes of different personas and develop features that bring the best value to all of these users. In addition to sharing, our users can swap their fashion items with one another, discover recycling tips, and learn about various zero-waste initiatives from the government and community. Our goal is to be the eco-super app in Singapore, where users can find all things eco-related in one place.
Sharetings is a youth-led, homegrown platform that is designed to make a real difference in people’s lives. My vision is for it to foster a sense of community and belonging, and to promote more sustainable and environmentally conscious behavior. I knew starting Sharetings would be a challenging process, but I was determined to turn my vision into a reality. I believe that Sharetings is more than just a sharing app – we are a tech for good project driven by a passion to create a positive impact on the world. We are committed to being a platform that truly makes a difference in people’s lives and promotes more sustainable and environmentally conscious behaviors. We are determined to continue growing and improving in the future so that we can reach as many people as possible and make a meaningful difference in the world.
The key lesson I learned from starting and building Sharetings is that it is possible to turn a vision into a reality with resilience, determination, and passion, even when faced with challenges and limitations. Passion is the driving force that helps us pursue our dreams and make a positive impact in the world.
As a non-tech person, I encountered numerous obstacles while building Sharetings from the ground up with limited resources. However, through hard work, a willingness to learn and adapt, and a deep passion for my work, I was able to overcome these challenges and create a platform that is making a positive impact in communities around the world. While we are just getting started, I believe we are on the right path and that by sticking to our values and principles, we can overcome any challenges that come our way.
Sharetings is an initiative that embodies many life values that can’t be learned in school, I hope my story will inspire others, especially young people, to chase their dreams and ideas, no matter how intimidating they may seem. I want to prove that it is possible for a regular Singaporean like myself can create a tech-for-good project, even without being a tech expert, having a team, or having a lot of resources or experience. I encourage everyone to never give up when faced with challenges or setbacks in life, to always keep learning and growing, and to not be afraid to take risks and make mistakes.”
We are into our first week of launch, and our long-term goal is to reach 150,000 users in Singapore and to make a meaningful difference in the world. We know that this will not be an easy task and that it may take time to achieve our goals. However, we are committed to making progress every day, even if it is just a small step. For us, every day is an opportunity to learn and grow. We believe that with resilience, determination, passion, and a willingness to learn and grow, we can create a better future for ourselves and for the planet.
“With Sharetings, you can make a difference and spread joy every day, all while reducing waste and promoting sustainability”