Some thoughts on the next wave of marketplaces

Photo cred to Thomas Hawk

Each quarter, we discuss trends that excite us in the enterprise and marketplaces sectors. This is a thought exercise for us, but often turns into practice when we meet entrepreneurs who build companies that fulfill these visions.

Inspired by my friends Matt Goldstein and Ali Hamed to write short, informal pieces more frequently rather long pieces periodically, below are some highly unpolished thoughts on what marketplace trends we’re following at Karlin Ventures.

  • Hub and spoke model for marketplaces — APIs will enable marketplaces to seamlessly integrate all of their services into one hub. Each specific demographic may have it’s own hub that has established brand loyalty and trust for their specific use cases (ie. marketplace aggregator of services relevant for the elderly, or college students, etc.)
  • Optimizing for efficiency of time — Consumers are efficiently optimizing for space and goods through tools like Airbnb and Uber, but nobody is optimizing for efficiency of time. (ie. Uberpool for all transactional marketplaces. A Thumbtack landscaper that’s already out in a neighborhood should know the demand of neighbors in order to kill two birds with one stone. Marketplaces should also give tools to help their workers get through more projects faster but with equal quality.)
  • Marketplaces are struggling with ways to keep supply “active” — Onboarding and churn are big issues for 1099 marketplaces, so need more tools to enable more workers to join the supply side. (ie. Both Pillow and Breeze are expanding the supply side of marketplaces by providing individuals with the resources they need to do so)
  • Retention and benefits for the supply side of marketplaces — piggy backing the above, marketplaces need to find more ways to keep their existing workers happy. (ie. If Lyft provided oil changes to their drivers or Uber gave their drivers a tax management platform, etc.)
  • The 1099 worker is still underserved legally — which impacts their benefits, security, paychecks, and more. Interesting to see how this will shake out with regulations and legal treatment of “full time 1099'ers”
  • Portability of trust — how to take my reputation from one marketplace and apply it to a new marketplace I sign up for (ie. A super Airbnb host shouldn’t have to start from scratch as a TaskRabbit.)
  • Approaching security from a reputation and trust standpoint in addition to just a traditional background check approach
  • Owning assets isn’t appealing anymore— but the needs of consumers stay the same, so how do traditional companies or behemoth players circumvent this? (ie. a residential real estate company offering flexible, short-term rentals as opposed to selling condos or Airbnb offering a subscription model allowing guests to live in any Airbnbs indefinitely rather than just short term)

Let us know what you think, and if you’re building something in one of these areas, we’d love to talk to you.