News & Views

Ellie Gummer

Press Release: Norwich’s sharing economy pioneer celebrates its 18th birthday!

Liftshare, the UK’s biggest car sharing community, and sharing economy pioneer, based in Duke Street Norwich is celebrating its 18th birthday this Monday.

Founder Ali Clabburn had the idea for the company whilst at Bristol University, when he realised he couldn’t afford the train fare back home to Norfolk one Christmas. He posted a message up on a student union common room notice-board, returned the next day to find three lift offers – and Liftshare was born. Now a member of trade body Sharing Economy UK, Ali worked within the space years before the phrase ‘sharing economy’ had been coined.

Launching in August 1998, a fortnight before Google, the company celebrates its 18th birthday on Monday 22nd. Things have changed greatly since then; moving from a CD-ROM based software system to a fully online site with iOS, Android and Apple Watch functionality. Over the years, the sustainable travel service has won the Queens Award for Innovation, the Ashden Sustainability Award, and the Prime Minister’s Catalyst Award.

Now based in Duke Street in Norwich’s first ever office with a slide, Liftshare has a team of 25 working full time with the public and over 700 businesses encouraging sharing to save carbon and cash. Their most high profile clients have included Jaguar Land Rover, Glastonbury Festival, Ocado, and Sainsburys.

The site has had 700,000 people sign up to share, with over 500,000 currently active. Over 1,000,000 trips are shared through the site each month. Over £26,000,000 in petrol costs are saved every year as a result of shared journeys. 35,000 tonnes of CO2 are saved annually through the site – as much as 8,000 cars being taken off the road for a whole year, 9 new wind turbines being installed, or 4,000 homes annual energy usage!

1998 was the beginning of the ‘dot com bubble’ with Google, Freeserve, Tiscali, and all being founded in the same year. Internet access was available via dial-up and the average speed was 56kbit/s. It’s 18.7Mbps now – that’s about 322 times faster! It was the year of launch for the Nokia 5110, and the iMac computer; this year is set to see a new Apple Watch design, tests for driverless cars, and Facebook launching a drone to broadcast internet to deprived areas.

Ali Clabburn, MD and Founder of Liftshare, said: “The last 18 years have been amazing. I’m very lucky to have been in the right place at the right time with a good idea and great people around me to help us along the way. We are people powered, tech enabled and socially driven. We’ve helped so many people already but there is still lots of work to do. However, on Monday we’re taking time out to celebrate and reflect on how far we have come. Once our heads have cleared we’ll be back to it. Here’s to the next 18 years!”.



Editors Notes:

Liftshare is the UK’s biggest car sharing community, with over 700,000 members.
The site is free to use and available at
A typical driver sharing their commute with one other person saves £987 p.a. in fuel costs.

For further statistics, photos, information or comment, please contact Lex Barber, Liftshare Marketing Manager, at