Does the World Need Another Two-Sided Marketplace Startup?

Anyone can drive an Uber, but how do you validate demand for an expert service marketplace?

What is an expert two-sided marketplace?

We’re all familiar with traditional 2SMs like Uber, Wag, or Instacart. The vendor side of these platforms is built around the notion that anyone can drive a car, walk a dog, or buy groceries. The vendor recruiting pitch for these 2SMs breaks down like this: The better you are, the higher your rating, the more business you get, the more money you make.

Why do we need expert two-sided marketplaces?

E2SM platforms revolve around some simple economic concepts. For the customers, they aim to provide a percentage of the service benefits for a much smaller percentage of the price of a full service provider.

Why are expert two-sided marketplaces going mainstream?

To explain why E2SMs are suddenly all the rage, we have to back to the roots of eCommerce.

The problems with expert two-sided marketplace platforms

Broken down into the simple set of elements I just described, E2SMs seem easy to stand up and operate. But the platforms run into all sorts of critical issues.

  • The expert vendors need a robust, often extreme vetting that usually isn’t done well, if at all.
  • The customer experience is usually poor, often for the very reasons it seems so easy to stand the marketplace up in the first place.

Should your expert two-sided marketplace exist?

If your plans for your E2SM look anything like what I’ve described up to now, then no, these goods-rip-off versions of an E2SM will always fail. But if you can build a platform to handle the kind of complexity needed to make an E2SM work, then there are some basic questions you should ask to understand if your E2SM is valid.

I’m a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. Sold ExitEvent. Building & GetSpiffy. Former Automated Insights. More info at

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store