For around 15 years now I’ve been getting (many would say “overly”) excited by the sharing economy, marketplaces and crowdsourcing. The way they’ve eased so many high friction industries and enabled multiple users to transact directly has reinvented market behaviours.
Have you tried launching a marketplace? It’s not easy. Facilitating multisided marketplaces comes with many challenges, especially in the early phases when either side is likely to be out of alignment with the other. I was told when I first launched AnyGood? in 2017 that we’d never do it. They said “you can’t scale personal recommendations”. And they were half right. You can’t without a tonne of tenacity, grit and the desire to test, refine, pull your hair out, test, refine, test, refine.
Getting it right
Once you get it right though it begins to take on a life of it’s own. With each side of the marketplace pulling the proposition to market you can finally shout from the rafters “We have product market fit!”. As this happens to your core proposition you begin to identify other ways the new found strength and size of your marketplace can help, in particular in great times of need.
For example, in the wake of Australia’s bushfire crisis, Camplify helped to provide short term temporary, free caravan and motorhome accommodation. Closer to home, Car & Away recently launched Karshare and is asking residents of Bristol and Brighton to donate their unused cars for one week. The cars will be made available to volunteers in order to get medical and food supplies to the vulnerable. Airbnb is helping to connect UK medical professionals on the frontline with hosts offering free places to stay during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hiyacar are offering free car hire for volunteer NHS staff and emergency service workers and group funding platform, Patchwork are helping group fund raise food boxes for the workers of Lewisham Hospital.
Here at AnyGood? our standard process has been that clients share roles and members personally recommend great people for them. As the market has shifted over the past month, as well as sharing COVID-19 roles for free we’re able to respond to new market demands. We now also provide a service to employers so they can recommend employees who have been made redundant into new roles, effectively supporting the redeployment of labour.
Dear new marketplaces…
I’ve seen many new marketplaces spring up over the past month, trying to service the demands of the new economy and provide support to those in need. For those that have, it’s not always a “build it and they will come” story, no matter how great the idea. My guidance would be to study the marketplaces around you and speak to founders who have been there and most definitely have the battle scars to prove it.
A great resource is Sharing Economy UK where the cool sharing economy kids hang out. Oh and we’re there too ;).
If you’ve built or are building a marketplace to support COVID-19 and are experiencing challenges then do get in touch. I’d be happy to help however I can.
CEO and Founder of AnyGood?