How two Calif. entrepreneurs used the "share economy"

Recently, two young California businessmen took an unusual approach to funding their dreams.

When friends Erik Schnakenberg and Sasha Koehn launched their online clothing company Buck Mason in 2013, they barely had enough money to pull it off.

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Two business partners used Airbnb to raise funds for their startup CBS News

"Unfortunately none of us had a rich uncle that we could kind of call, we had no real experience with raising capital with outside investors," said Koehn. "So, the thing that we only knew how to do was be scrappy."

They both poured in all of their savings, and quit their day jobs to focus on the company. This left them more time to plan, but less cash to get by.

"I came to Sasha with this idea and was like 'what if I rented my place out indefinitely, and just slept on your couch,'" said Schnakenberg.

He listed his Los Angeles apartment on Airbnb. In less than four months, he made the $15,000 they needed to kickstart their business.

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Erik Schnakenberg and Sasha Koehn started Buck Mason, an online clothing shop, in 2013 CBS News

"When you're starting a business your most important asset is time. This basically also freed up the time that it would take to earn that income, and you can't put a price tag on that," said Koehn.

"I don't know how much Sasha's girlfriend liked it at the time. But it worked," joked Schnakenberg.

There are now $17 billion companies in the "share economy," where resources are sold daily from person to person.

Last year, 155 million guests slept in an Airbnb. That's 22 percent more than Hilton Hotels. Uber gets 10 percent more business travelers than taxis.

Uber's rise to prominence

And over the next ten years, the share economy will be worth an estimated $335 billion dollars, 22 times what it's worth now.

Buck Mason's profits have soared over the past year. Schnakenberg and Koehn even built a physical store 20 feet from the apartment that helped make it all possible.

"I had to sleep on somebody's couch which gave me the opportunity to own my own business," said Schnakenberg.

"I'd take that every day. That's a no-brainer."

  • Anthony Mason

    CBS News senior business and economics correspondent; Co-host, "CBS This Morning: Saturday"