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A guide to digital marketplaces

Version One Ventures – which is an early-stage venture capital fund based in Vancouver – recently published a free handbook called, A Guide to Marketplaces.

Online marketplaces are really fascinating because they are perhaps broader in scope than you might initially think. For example, Uber is a marketplace. There’s a supply-side (drivers with cars) and a demand-side (people needing rides). Uber connects these two groups together and acts as a kind of digital middle person. Uber does not own any of the cars.

This is an incredibly power business model and it can and is being applied in many different ways. Here are the top internet marketplaces (via the handbook):

I have been interested in this space for years because I have been very curious as to why we haven’t seen more innovation when it comes to online real estate marketplaces. Yes, there are platforms like But Zillow has not done to real estate what Uber is doing to urban mobility.

My thinking is that it comes down to supply-side aggregation. Online marketplaces in general are hard to get started, which is why investors love them. They have defensibility. But real estate, in particular, is even harder to jumpstart compared to the incumbent models because of what I see as constraints on the supply-side.

That’s why I am so excited about what is doing on the new construction side of the business. They are aggregating supply.

If you’d like to download the guide to marketplaces in PDF, click here. It’s a great read and I’m glad that Boris and Angela took the time to assemble. Thank you 🙂

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