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Peer-to-peer photography rental proves the value of sharing with $1 million in funding

Sharing could be even more important than your mother let on — ShareGrid, a peer-to-peer camera rental company (think AirBNB, but for photo and video gear) just raised $1 million in funding and will expand to its third major U.S. city by the end of the month.

ShareGrid allows photographers and videographers to rent out their gear to other creatives, while taking care of the logistics and administrative issues like insurance and ID verification. And of course, the service connects equipment owners to the people who need a rental. The platform allows photographers to rent out gear that might otherwise be simply waiting around for the next project, with the potential to earn as much as around $1,000 a month. For renters, ShareGrid is more affordable than a traditional rental, the company says, by as much as 30 to 50 percent.

Established in 2013, the platform went live last year in New York and Los Angeles and by the end of this month, it will expand to Atlanta. ShareGrid now has 12,000 members and over $100 million dollars worth of gear available for rent.

ShareGrid also covers more than just the basic cameras and lenses — it also rents out drones, VR production gear, lighting, monitors, post production tools and will even rent out a physical studio space.

“There is a shift in the economy away from the centralized structured power of corporations to more of the individual as technology breaks down the barriers to operating micro-businesses,” ShareGrid CEO and co-founder Arash Shiva wrote. “We see every day how giving individuals more control over running their own business using the ShareGrid platform has created freedom for them to not only make money, but be able to afford to express their creativity to the fullest thanks to the lowered cost of access to gear.”

ShareGrid isn’t the only peer-to-peer rental — KitSplit has a similar business model. Parachut, however, is based on a different idea that does not include the sharing aspect, but instead follows something a bit closer to how Netflix started by sending the DVDs on your wishlist but without knowing what you’ll get when. Shiva says that ShareGrid is different as the first to offer $750,000 in insurance instantly.

While ShareGrid is currently only in three cities including the new Atlanta expansion, it plans to spread across the U.S. — and the early support it has received suggests the service could just pull it off.

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