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What consumer marketplaces are there left to build? Haven't the major marketplaces already been created? We get asked this a lot, and I co-wrote an essay with @andrewchen on what we think is next:…
(answer: we think there are many opportunities left!)
Services make up 2/3 of US consumer spending. The last 20 years saw many service categories come online--from transportation to food delivery--as well as an evolution in marketplace models, from simple listing sites to managed marketplaces. But we think that's just the beginning.
The biggest marketplaces of the next 20 years will tackle the harder opportunities that software hasn’t yet infiltrated--specifically, for complex services like education, law, childcare, real estate, and other regulated services.
These opportunities are filled with technological, operational, and regulatory hurdles. But if done right, there is room to have a massive impact on the quality and convenience of consumers’ everyday lives. Here are some companies trying to bring these regulated services online:
In our essay, we talk about:
- Why services are still primarily offline
- Evolution of services marketplace paradigms: listings, unbundled Craigslist, "Uber for X," managed marketplaces
- The future of services marketplaces
- Strategies for unlocking supply in regulated markets
We also include lots of examples of marketplace companies that we're fans of, and explain how they fit into this framework: Atrium, Basis, Good Dog, Honor, Opendoor, Trusted, Wonderschool, and more.
What might services marketplaces look like in the future? We think we'll see more of the following: shifts from synchronous to asynchronous delivery of services, AI and automation, de-localization of services, and further adaptations of the managed marketplace model.
If you're an entrepreneur working on any of this, we'd love to hear from you!
And last but not least--a tremendous thank you to @ai, @benedictevans, @conniechan, @smc90 & the entire a16z editorial and marketing team for all their feedback on this essay and for pushing our thinking forward every day!
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