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Two-Sided - The Marketplace Podcast
37 minutes | Aug 12, 2020
S1E12 - Season 1 Recap: Five takeaways from this season
In this episode we look back at season 1. I distill five interesting takeaways that any early-stage marketplace entrepreneur can use, and I have picked out the most relevant outtakes from this season’s interviews.
41 minutes | Aug 5, 2020
S1E11 - From mowing lawns to tech entrepreneur - Bryan Clayton (Greenpal)
Bryan Clayton, co-founder and CEO of Greenpal, tells the story behind Greenpal, the marketplace for lawn care, and how he transformed himself from a blue-collar entrepreneur into a tech entrepreneur.
53 minutes | Jul 29, 2020
S1E10 - Lessons learned from building Kickstarter - Charles Adler (co-founder Kickstarter)
Charles Adler, co-founder of Kickstarter, shares how Kickstarter began and how they grew organically while maintaining the quality and the vibe.
38 minutes | Jul 22, 2020
S1E9 - Dealing with trust and Covid-19 in a travel industry marketplace - Jacob Wedderburn-Day (Stasher)
Jacob Wedderburn-Day tells Sjoerd about building Stasher fresh out of university and dealing with the pandemic in a travel industry marketplace.
38 minutes | Jul 14, 2020
S1E8 - Free marketplaces will disappear - Ryan Gill (Communo)
Ryan Gills shares how Communo got started, why he thinks Fiverr & UpWork are in a race to the bottom, why they built a community that is about giving before receiving and how Communo is building for the future generations.
48 minutes | Jul 7, 2020
S1E7 - Building an enterprise gateway marketplace - Kevin Lustig (Scientist.com)
Kevin Lustig: [00:00:00] So we literally have a press release [laughs] from September 15th, 2008, you know, saying they were launching this platform, and we hoped it would be as consequential as, you know, Darwin stepping out 165 years ago this day onto the Galapagos. [laughs] Because what ended up happening was crickets.Announcer: [00:00:24] Welcome to Two-Sided, the marketplace podcast. Brought to you by Sharetribe.Sjoerd: [00:00:28] Hi, I'm Sjoerd, CMO at Sharetribe, and I am your host. In this episode, I speak to Kevin Lustig from Scientist.com, which is a marketplace for buyers and sellers of scientific research services. This was another of those gigantic B2B marketplaces that serves a trillion dollar industry that I had never, ever heard of. This has been one of the cool things, actually, of this podcast, that I get to discover all kinds of fantastic companies that serve industries I have no idea about in ways that I haven't even thought of. And this is also the case for Scientist.com, as you will hear.They call themselves an enterprise gateway marketplace, and indeed, they do have an exceptional model. We talk about that, and we talk about the long journey they have been on since they got started 13 years ago. And basically, we talk about all things that have to do with how to build a marketplace for enterprise customers. This was another great talk, and definitely some very interesting stories, so, enjoy.Hi, Kevin, welcome to the show.Kevin Lustig: [00:01:40] Great to be here.Sjoerd: [00:01:41] Hey, before we dive into the marketplace rabbit hole with Scientist.com, can you tell us, the listeners at home, me, a little bit about what did you do before you started Scientist.com?Kevin Lustig: [00:01:53] Sure. I was essentially a, what we call in the United States, a lab rat. I spent about 18 years in the laboratory doing experiments with my own hands, developing new technologies, trying to make new discoveries. After that, I went into biotech, joined a company called Tularik, which was the first company spun out of Genentech. After that, I went off and I founded a company called Kalypsys. Which was a small biotech company. And it was really my experiences at Kalypsys that led directly to my and, uh, two other fellows founding Scientist.com.Sjoerd: [00:02:29] All right. And could you tell us a little bit about what is Scientist.com?Kevin Lustig: [00:02:33] Sure. Scientist.com is a two sided marketplace that connects buyers and sellers of complex research services. So just to give you an example, if a biotech researcher wants to make an antibody for the coronavirus, you know, in the past, they may have spent a year on their own time making that antibody. Today, what they do instead is they go outside to laboratories all around the world who actually do it for them, and they do it better, faster, and cheaper. So we're really a marketplace for medical research. And our mission is to empower and connect scientists and to make it possible to cure all human diseases by 2050.Sjoerd: [00:03:17] All right. Wow, that is possibly the most ambitious mission we've had on the podcast so far [laughing] but that sounds really fantastic.Kevin Lustig: [00:03:24] We're thinking very big [laughs]. We're thinking big.Sjoerd: [00:03:26] Yeah. So you're saying, connecting scientists with scientists, in a way? So basically, you have supply and demand, someone could have two roles on your platform? Do I understand that right?Kevin Lustig: [00:03:35] Yes. In fact, some people do. Although they're pretty rare. On the supply side, there are tens of thousands of research laboratories spread out all around the world, and they're often called contract research organizations.Sjoerd: [00:03:50] All right.Kevin Lustig: [00:03:50] And they do typically very sophisticated experiments. The average order value on a marketplace like this is typically in the tens of thousands of dollars. So when somebody's buying something, they're not going out and buying something for $50 and moving on, or coming back later to buy it again. They're basically buying a six month study that's gonna test whether their drug is active in an animal model for Parkinson's disease, as an example.Sjoerd: [00:04:17] Yeah. And so you already gave one example, you know, someone would like to make a vaccine for the corona endemic. How does that work? Can anyone sign up on your marketplace?Kevin Lustig: [00:04:28] Yeah, they can. Most of our business comes out of enterprise marketplaces that we build for large pharmaceutical and biotech companies.Sjoerd: [00:04:37] All right.Kevin Lustig: [00:04:37] But we also do run a public facing marketplace that's available to the little biotechs, that's available to academic researchers, that's even available to citizen scientists. I mean our goal, way back when we started this 14 years ago, was to help democratize science and make all of these sophisticated tools that are available today available to anyone that had ideas about how to use them.Sjoerd: [00:05:04] Okay. So actually, I would like to still stick back a little bit 15 years ago, when you said, um, was it 15 years ago that you started this?Kevin Lustig: [00:05:11] It was, it was 14 years ago, yes. I had the idea 15 years ago. So yes, about 15 years ago.Sjoerd: [00:05:15] Yeah. So about the idea, how, could you tell a little bit more of, okay, I can understand the environment in which you got it. But can you tell me a little bit about how did the idea come into existence? Did you experience this pain point yourself? Did you talk to others? Can you tell a little bit about how did you move from, let's say, idea to validating the idea?Kevin Lustig: [00:05:33] Yeah, absolutely. I had founded a company called Kalypsys, this small biotech company based in San Diego. And we had been very successful in raising money, we were very successful in doing business development deals that brought in money to the company. We built a building, you know, to house all of our scientists. But what we found was that despite all that money, our research wasn't going much faster than it had before we had the money. You know, we could do a little bit more, but not that much more. We became increasingly frustrated with the pace of medical research.And then one day, we realized that there might be a completely different way to approach this problem. And, and that we really needed to turn the entire process upside down. Up until then, we had this philosophy that outsourcing was bad. That real scientists do the work in their own laboratories with their own hands. And we had really bought into that. And then one day, we realized that that was just completely wrong headed, and that if we could turn it upside down and perhaps create a platform that would allow a scientist to outsource everything but the genius, and that became our tagline over the past 15 years.Sjoerd: [00:06:48] Yeah. So the idea's really that you take a very complex process, like an entire research timeline, I guess, like a ... sorry, I'm obviously not a scientist, as you will hear in the next couple of seconds [laughing]. But where you take your first idea or your first hypothesis, and then you go to some stage of testing, another stage of testing, third stage of testing, for example. And the idea is that you can sort of split that now up, you can sort of chop up the work and then outsource it to other people who are faster, better, have better material, et cetera, to it. Is that correct? Is that what you're doing?Kevin Lustig: [00:07:17] That is ex- you got, you got, you hit the nail on the head. Right? When you think about the scientific method, it's about having an idea. The next step is doing the experiment to test that idea. The third and final step is analyzing the results of that experiment. And of course, based upon the results of that experiment, you've gone around the cycle once, now you come up with your next idea, do the experiment, do the analysis, come up with the next idea. And what Scientist.com does is allow scientists, in exactly the way you laid out, to go around that cycle much more quickly than they could if they were doing the work on their own.Sjoerd: [00:07:55] I mean, that sounds fantastic, obviously. So how did you validate the idea? What was the first version of Scientist.com? I would be very interested to hear about that. Because it's not necessarily, even though they work on the, let's say, forefronts of science, a lot of academics and related are not necessarily open to the most, you know, technological changes or advances sometimes. So how did that work for you?Kevin Lustig: [00:08:19] Okay, I'll keep the story fairly short. Scientist.com is an overnight success 15 years in the making, okay? [laughing] [inaudible 00:08:28] During those 15 years, we have had three serious business model pivots, and, and two near death experiences. I could probably speak for the next 10 minutes about those. But to really answer your question [laughs], so we actually started out, not as a marketplace, right? We were all working together at a biotech that I had co-founded where I ran R&D. And what we thought to build was a better CRO, essentially, we wanted to become a supplier of hundreds of biological tests and assays.And so we actually, initially, for the first six months, we built a big lab and we bought and fixed all this robotic equipment, and the idea was that scientists were gonna mail us their compounds, we were gonna test them against hundreds of cancer cell lines, and then simple send them the data back. That was the initial idea. And then six months after building all of that-Sjoerd: [00:09:29] Yep.Kevin Lustig: [00:09:30] -we realized that there was a better idea in the making, and that there were actually hundreds, and we soon found out that there were thousands of companies all around the world already doing this, and we said, "Wait a minute, let's shut the lab down, and instead, create a marketplace that bri
34 minutes | Jul 1, 2020
S1E6 - Talent marketplaces and the future of work - Sophie Adelman (WhiteHat/ex-Hired)
Sophie Adelman: [00:00:00] But I think people forget that all of these companies started off with humans going out into the streets and making that business work.Speaker 2: [00:00:12] [music playing] Welcome to Two-Sided, the marketplace podcast, brought to you by Sharetribe.Sjoerd: [00:00:24] Hi, I'm Sjoerd, CMO at Sharetribe, and I am your host. In today's episode, I speak to Sophie Adelman about talent marketplaces. Sophie has a lot of experiences with that. She was the first international hire at hired.com, a tech recruitment marketplace. There she led the expansion of Hired from the US into the UK, and after that, Sophie founded WhiteHat, which matches ambitious people with an apprenticeship at employers. We discuss how liquidity works in marketplaces like this, how all marketplaces basically start off as a managed marketplace, how important can be to educate one side of your marketplace, and the general importance of data; a terrific talk altogether, and again, filled with some real gems.Uh, a quick note on the audio quality, so, Sophie sounds fantastic, but it turned out after the recording that there had been a small, uh, buzz on my side. Our amazing producer, Nemanja, was able to reduce it significantly, but at times, you might hear a strange light buzz when I'm talking. So, no worries, there's nothing wrong with your audio setup, and I apologize for any auditory inconveniences, but this just happens sometimes. Now, enough said, let's listen to Sophie discuss talent marketplaces. Enjoy.[music playing]Hi, Sophie, uh, welcome to the podcast.Sophie Adelman: [00:01:47] Thank you for having me.Sjoerd: [00:01:49] Hey, before we, uh, dive straight into all the marketplaces, maybe you can tell the people at home a little bit about your background, sort of, kind of up until Hired, because that's where I want to straight dive into a couple more questions.Sophie Adelman: [00:02:00] Sure. So, I grew up in the UK, British born and bred, and I, I, I started my career, actually in conference production. I was a conference producer, was my first job, and which is a very entrepreneurial role. I did that for about a year, and then I went and worked in investment banking at Goldman for about 18 months. I have to be honest, I didn't really love that experience. It was in 2007/2008, so the financial crisis was a terrifying time to be starting your career, and lots of different ways, and I don't think it was the kind of opportunity that was the right fit for me and my skill set, but it was a great learning experience. And then from there, I went and worked at Egen Zehnder, which is an executive search firm, uh, doing so, searches, management appraisals, really understanding how companies are built, and how people think about talent and talent assessments, which has obviously been a thread throughout my career, and something that I, I feel very passionately about.And then went off and did a, an MBA at Stanford. I can very happy to talk about my experience of an MBA. I think it's a very personal choice why people go and do that, but I, I had an amazing time, and I feel the lessons I learned from that are now coming into play, 10 years later. And then, before Hired, I actually worked in finance. So, I worked in investing for a family office/investment trust. So, quite an eclectic career in that regard.Sjoerd: [00:03:21] Yeah. And then now, actually, with the addition of the MBA, I think somehow I missed that, because I was kind of surprised because I was doing some background research on you, and then, how did you get into hired, and I was checking and I said, "Well, that's quite a entrepreneurial position for someone who comes seemingly out of mostly investment banking, that's not a ..." It's usually the other way around that a entrepreneur goes somehow on the capital side, uh, rather than... So, maybe y- you could tell us a little bit more, like, how did you get across that opportunity?Sophie Adelman: [00:03:50] Well, I think the Hired opportunity came from two fronts; one was, as you said, I was out in California for two years. I have a lot of friends who finished their MBA and went and worked at some of the most highly successful startups and scale ups that we've known over the last decade, so, the Ubers, these Lyfts of the world, and I saw them working in these very fast paced environments and just thought that sounds amazing, that sounds super cool. They're building companies. And that's what I've always wanted to do. I've wanted to build a company, I've always had that desire to be leading and developing people and building businesses. And, when I was at the investment trust that I was part of, I was actually helping build businesses within the business. So, I launched a headphone seeding business, I was involved in starting new businesses for the funds. And so, I got to scratch that itch a little bit, but not fully.And then, the actual opportunity came about, because, before I went to Stanford, I actually did a summer internship for an organization called Atomico, which is a VC fund. Right back at the beginning, before Atomico was a really well known fund, there was, uh, five of us in a room, and, you know, got to, to see how startups worked, and both internally in a VC fund, but also in their portfolio companies. And so, when I was thinking about what I wanted to do next, I knew I wanted to build businesses, work in a high growth environment. I reached out to th- the Atomico team, and they told me about the Hired opportunity, and it just felt like it fitted perfectly with both my aspirations, and my experience having worked in the talent space. And so, I wrote a cover letter.I didn't know anyone at the company, I wrote a cover letter, say, "These are the three reasons why I understand the problem you're trying to solve, and these are the three reasons why I think I'm the person to do it." And I got a call within a couple of hours from the CEO, and the rest is history.Sjoerd: [00:05:37] Oh, wow. Yeah, that's amazing. So, so you got that chance, and you were the first international hire. Well, okay, now we know a little bit, possibly some of the market, or some of the businesses that you interacted with during the earlier ones had some kind of marketplace component, but I was watching, uh, one of your talks at the B2B Rocks in Paris from 2016. Okay, the topic of that talk was slightly about different things, but you said something sort of besides that I would be very interested in, the saying like, "Oh, well, we could have done a lot better on some things," and some of those things you mentioned were like, particularly the things that I'm interested in, i- into marketplace businesses.Sophie Adelman: [00:06:10] Mm-hmm [affirmative].Sjoerd: [00:06:11] So, how did that start? Like, did you go UK only, did it go Europe-wide straight?Sophie Adelman: [00:06:16] No. So, UK only. And I think that's one of the important things with a marketplace business, that you need to be really focused. Building a marketplace is, is difficult. I think a lot of people think that, um, once you build a marketplace, it just sort of works, drives itself, and that's not the case at all. You have to drive that marketplace, and be looking at the supply/demand dynamics very closely all the time. So when I first started, I'd actually started as a client executive. So, I was running the UK market, but really, I was just boots on the ground. I was, you know, I was just hustling. I would be in Ubers all over London, I called it my mobile office. So, I'd get in an Uber, tethered my laptop to my phone, be doing my emails and calls in the back of an Uber going from meeting to meeting, and just hustling to get companies to start using this platform that nobody had ever heard of. So what was exciting to me was, when you look at my background, you can see I've got all these credentials for these brands, so it always worked for organizations where you said, "I worked at Goldman," and it kind of opened the door.When I went to work for Hired, I had to build brands. I had to build the brands of Hired, but I also had to build the Sophie brands, you know, Sophie Adelman brand, I had to have credibility myself, because people were buying into me as much as they were into the offering. Because at that point, Hired was very early, and the platform was not fully, you know ... It wasn't fully built, and people didn't really understand how it worked. So, lots of what we were doing was educating people; educating them on why this was a problem for them, how this could solve the problem, how this is a better solution. And that's what I was doing. So, to start with, it was very UK focused, in fact, very London focused, and I was primarily focusing on the client side, and I had somebody in my team who was focusing more on the talent side, and we can talk a bit more about those dynamics.Sjoerd: [00:07:58] Yeah. I just now realize, actually, while you're saying this, that we haven't even properly introduced what is Hired. I know it,...Sophie Adelman: [00:08:05] [laughs]Sjoerd: [00:08:05] ...you know it. So, because my next questions are going to be, indeed, all about demand and supply side, but maybe you could, in a couple of sentences, say, actually, what kind of marketplace, what kind of platform is Hired?Sophie Adelman: [00:08:14] Yeah. So, Hired is a talent marketplace for technical talent, primarily software engineers, but also data scientists, UX designers, product managers. And it flips the normal recruitment model on its head. So, normally, when you're applying for a job, you apply for individual roles, and the, the company will then decide whether or not to interview you. With Hired, you actually go through a kind of vetting curation process up front. You apply to the platform, then they curate the top five to 10% of talent, and then companies go on and make interview requests to the candidate. So it puts the candidate back in the driving seat. It gives them the choi
37 minutes | Jun 23, 2020
S1E5 - Embrace, don't replace the middleman - Michael DeGiorgio (Crexi)
TS_Michael_MasterMichael DeGiorgio: [00:00:00] And I kind of, in the back of my mind, thought, "If nothing else, you know, this'll be a platform that we can transact on ourselves if people didn't want to use it."Speaker 2: [00:00:13] Welcome to Two-Sided, the marketplace podcast, brought to you by Sharetribe.Sjoerd: [00:00:24] Hi. I'm Sjoerd, CMO at Sharetribe, and I am your host. For this episode, I talked to Michael DeGiorgio, founder and CEO of CREXi, a marketplace for commercial real estate. This is an area, uh, [laughs] as you'll hear, which I knew absolutely nothing about, but it turns out to be an actually fascinating industry which was ripe for some serious disruption, as you'll hear.I talk with Mike about how to build productivity tools for one side of the marketplace and also about how, instead of getting rid of the middleman, which is something that you often see when marketplaces enter a space, CREXi actually embraced the middleman. This is a really intriguing talk, and I think there are some great insights in here for anyone building a marketplace business. Enjoy.Hi, Mike. Welcome to the podcast.Michael DeGiorgio: [00:01:17] Hey, Sjoerd. Really nice to be here. Thank you so much for having me.Sjoerd: [00:01:19] Yeah. I really appreciate it. Hey, before we dive super into the [inaudible 00:01:23] world of CREXi, can you tell the audience a little bit about who you are?Michael DeGiorgio: [00:01:27] Yeah. My name's Mike. I was born on the East Coast of the United States. Started my career about 11 years ago now in commercial real estate. I started it at a company called Auction.com, where we were trying to change the way people bought and sold both residential and commercial real estate.Uh, I was one of the first people on their commercial division, so I was really trying to take commercial real estate transactions online and to online auctions, uh, where I got a pretty good sense of the ecosystem, the software available in our space, and some of the deficiencies in our space.Uh, I spent about four years there, had 10 different roles while I was there, did everything from broker deals to be an auctioneer on auction day, and oversaw multiple different teams, uh, during my run there. And then, left about five years ago to form CREXi.Sjoerd: [00:02:11] All right. So there was already effectively a marketplace, Auction.com?Michael DeGiorgio: [00:02:15] It was really just a different way to transact. It was, uh, taking the traditional process, which is, you know, very manual, and bringing it to an online auction. Auctions were still, at the time, were a known way of transacting commercial real estate and residential real estate, typically for distressed real estate. Uh, what we did was really just bring that auction part online. The rest of our process was, uh, still very much like a broker.Sjoerd: [00:02:39] All right. Yeah. Was it a big operation?Michael DeGiorgio: [00:02:41] So when we started, I was, you know, maybe one of the first five people on the commercial division. My, after being there for about three years, we had raised a large round from Google Capital. We raised $50 million at a 1.2 billion valuation. The company grew to 1,000 plus people [inaudible 00:02:56] during my time there. And then, I left. So got big over time.Sjoerd: [00:03:00] Yeah. And so, you left, and then immediately after, you started CREXi? Or did you leave really to start CREXi?Michael DeGiorgio: [00:03:07] Left to start CREXi. I was pushed by a former mentor of mine, uh, over drinks one night, to kind of, threw a, lobbed a question at me asking what I would do if I could go kind of out on my own. And I responded by telling him, "I think there's a way to bring, really, everything about commercial real estate, leasing, transacting, data, online in an intuitive way that's not out there, and I would go start that company." And he became my first investor, and I left my career behind about a month and a half later to go start CREXi.Sjoerd: [00:03:36] All right. So basically, you are this, well, let's say, hardcore real estate veteran. And during your time at Auction, you were just thinking, "Ah, we could do this so much better." Is that what happened?Michael DeGiorgio: [00:03:48] Yeah. I think especially, you know, at first, I was very bought into the vision. I think over time, as I learned how the transaction works for real estate really well, I probably sold 600 commercial real estate properties during my time there.Sjoerd: [00:04:00] [laughs] Wow.Michael DeGiorgio: [00:04:00] As I kind of started to learn the different ways commercial real estate was sold and really started to get to know some of the software that was available to us in the space, because we still used other software platforms to help our process, I started to see that there was none I really believed in, and there was a much better way of doing it. And a lot of them were really, you know, antiquated, kind of web 1.0 version technology that I thought could be enhanced and taken so much further than it was. So I set out on the journey.Sjoerd: [00:04:27] And could you share a little bit, like, what were the things that you're like, "Ah, this is, you know, we, first thing I'm going to do at CREXi, this is what we're going to do. Like, this is how we are going to be different from Auction.com and whatever other things were out there?"Michael DeGiorgio: [00:04:40] Yeah. I guess in its most simple form, you know, Auction.com was really putting people in a box. They were forcing, if you wanted to use it, you had to transact in an auction. And I started to learn pretty quickly that oftentimes, I would sell the property prior to the auction, more traditionally, or after the auction, because the deal wouldn't sell in the auction, more traditionally after the auction.And there's just so many different ways to transact commercial real estate. And there's also a lot of tedious processes involved in transacting commercial real estate that would take half your day and really get in the way of just you getting a deal done.And so I, I really thought, you know, the two basic things were, most importantly, let's build some tech to solve some of these pain points that, you know, maybe used to take a half a day. I could take it and make it a couple clicks of a mouse.And let's make it more flexible so you didn't kind of get forced to transact in an auction only. I thought, over time, you know, that can be an offering we have. But let's make it really flexible so that you can transact in multiple different ways on the platform.And I kind of, in the back of my mind, thought, "If nothing else, you know, this'll be a platform that we can transact on ourselves, if people didn't want to use it." So that was kind of our backup plan, was let's build something where, if I had to go start transacting real estate again tomorrow, I would be able to transact better than I could without this platform that we were going to build.And the hope was people saw the value in that, the time saving in that, the different, you know, advantages of being able to use a platform like ours, and everybody would start to use it. And we'd get the whole industry there together. And if we didn't, you know, we had, we at least knew we could transact on it and make it big that way.Sjoerd: [00:06:10] Yeah. So did you rely mostly on your own expertise or, and experiences, or did you do user research before, like, hey, because you're saying basically, you mentioned two sort of different points. One is the, the way transaction happened. And then you also mentioned that, hey, we're going to build this platform which basically, like, software tools, right? So which one did you start with? Or did the first version contain both of these things already?Michael DeGiorgio: [00:06:33] Yeah. We spent about nine months building the first version, and it definitely contained both. Part of transacting is some of the tools. You know, you need those tools to transact more efficiently.So really, in my mind, even though they were tools to help run your business more efficiently, the business we were in was transacting commercial real estate. So we spent the first year nearly just building out the MDP and getting it out there in a way that we felt comfortable and confident releasing it.And we brought, uh, a combination. You know, we brought a l- to answer your second question, we obviously had a lot of ideas ourselves from our days of transacting and brought a lot of people onto the team fairly early to kind of help formulate the idea.And then also would constantly be bringing in commercial real estate brokers, commercial real estate owners that we knew real well, to run ideas by and get a feel for what they thought of what we were building.Sjoerd: [00:07:20] And, uh, could you give an example, you know, for people [laughs] like myself who don't know anything about selling commercial real estate? Like, what are some of those pain points that you were solving for them, the daily work ones?Michael DeGiorgio: [00:07:30] Yeah. I mean, it sounds real simple, and I'll start more on the transactional side, but when you're selling commercial real estate, unless someone emails you or calls you, you really don't know who's interested in your property.So just bringing transparency so that if someone looked at the property, you knew who that person was, why they were looking, how long they spent looking, and you could connect with them really easily through a message online or, or call them really quickly.After you talk to that person, you're using some kind of CRM system or Excel to take notes on your conversation. A really easy way to enter those notes.And then, uh, you know, another kind of basic one is real, seemingly really simple, which I think was part of the beauty of it. On, like, a Friday, you would have to then go take all of those notes and summarize it and send it to your client and say, "Hey, this is all the marketing I've done. T
40 minutes | Jun 16, 2020
S1E4 - Talk to your users before building anything - Charles Armitage (Florence)
Sjoerd Handgraaf: [00:00:15] Welcome to two-sided, the marketplace podcast brought to you by Sharetribe.Sjoerd Handgraaf: [00:00:23] Hi, I'm Sjoerd CMO with Sharetribe and I'm your host. I'm actually very excited today because this is the first time that I can say to at least some of you welcome back because we dropped the first few episodes last week and the response has been absolutely amazing. And if you're one of the people who heard those and came back, thank you so much.And also thank you for the fantastic response we've gotten so far. Now let's dive into the episode. So in this episode, I'm talking to Charles Armatage. Charles was actually a doctor and training to go into emergency medicine, but then decided to radically change his career to start a marketplace for independent nurses and elderly care.Well, Charles will tell us all about that. And it's a very interesting story, but he'll also show us the importance of talking to your customers before actually building your huge product. You know, spoiler alert, their first version failed hard and how to build relationship and have trust in such a delicate Margaret.Again, I've only had fantastic episodes so far, and this one is no exception. So sit tight and listen to Charles story Charles Armitage: [00:01:27] about Florence.Sjoerd Handgraaf: [00:01:36] Hi Charles. Welcome to the show. Charles Armitage: [00:01:38] Thanks very much for having me. Sjoerd Handgraaf: [00:01:39] Hey, I checked out a little bit of your background. I saw that you're trained as a doctor and well, I think we'd like to know a little bit more about you. So can you tell us a little bit about what you did before you ended up at Florence?Charles Armitage: [00:01:51] Sure. So, uh, absolutely. So it was a, a doctor in the UK and a number of different specialties, but it kind of was settling in on emergency medicine and then laterally surgery. So was pursuing a career in trauma surgery, but still relatively, kind of early on in that journey. It takes quite a long time to get to.You know, the end of being a trauma surgeon, but yeah, so worked in a lot of places, worked in London a lot on the South coast and up in Scotland and then some other funny places around the world, like South America and Africa and places like that. Sjoerd Handgraaf: [00:02:21] That was too boring for you or what was the reason why were like, Hey, Charles Armitage: [00:02:25] sure.I'm sorry. Is that something that was a bit boring actually. So I could talk about this forever, but the thing about medicine is that, um, you know, you get moments of absolute, huge adrenaline rushes and amazing thrills. Also punctuated by quite a lot of time, grinding your head against quite a challenging system.And you can spend a lot of your time doing paperwork and filling out. You're not necessarily having a massive impact. And certainly that the impact you're having isn't exactly scalable. You were kind of an equals wide and there's only so much you can do really to make a change. And so Sjoerd Handgraaf: [00:02:54] were you always into tech that you're like, I'm going to start a startup for like, maybe you can tell us a little bit into the origin of Florence.Charles Armitage: [00:03:02] Yeah, for sure. I mean, I've always been kind of interested in tech and I was like new shiny things, but essentially, you know, learn more and more about myself. And my drivers is kind of my goal and the journey, but essentially I just like new things and maybe I've got a slightly short attention span. So always kind of looking for something new on the horizon.And I was working in. London at the time in emergency medicine and was really enjoying their job. But at the same time, it was kind of investigating things on the size. And one of the things I noticed and it's kind of a pervasive problem throughout healthcare in the UK and actually most of the world is, you know, the biggest challenge is staffing.And how do you create a solution to some of the biggest challenges we face as a society, which is, you know, looking after an aging population and providing the staff to do that in like a safe and high quality way. So I was messing around with some ideas in this, any department, trying to kind of build an app for me and my colleagues to swap shifts and, you know, work more effectively between us.And obviously like couldn't build it because I'm not technical. And it started kind of the idea going and didn't really come to much. And then I met my cofounder, Dan, who is from the military, but I guess comes from the other side of the fence as well. He manages a care home group. Well manage the cat and group in London.So it was having challenges, finding staff to look after their residents. And we met, we were introduced by a mutual friend and kind of started bouncing some ideas around. We both had ideas in the kind of space of how can we use technology to bring together this supply and demand in a more intelligent way and, you know, high quality cost effective, all these kinds of great things.And then we just started like, thinking about it and it's right. Single map. And you know, the rest is history. Sjoerd Handgraaf: [00:04:40] Yeah for the people at home. So could you tell us a little bit about what is Florence exactly. Charles Armitage: [00:04:45] Sure. So Florence is the online marketplace for flexible staffing on demand staffing in the cat section UK.So what we do is we have a platform that connects care homes to nurses and carers looking for extra shifts. And I guess, traditionally the problem in the UK cast actor is a massively understaffed industry. So. It was around about 120,000 vacancies in UK care sector. So what ends up happening is a huge proportion of shifts.About 10% of all shifts in calc care in the UK have felt both. Temporary workers, flexible workers. Sjoerd Handgraaf: [00:05:18] Is that elderly care only or health care. Charles Armitage: [00:05:21] Yeah. So when I talk about car I’m talking about elderly care in the community. So in town homes, nursing homes, not necessarily the health care sites, which is more the NHS, and there's a bit of a differentiation of the UK.What ends up happening is about 10% of this workforce is temporary, is flexible and it's managed. Pre Florence was managed by traditional recruitment agencies who were really fragmented offline processes. You know, one man and his phone kind of with relationships with individual workers or homes and bring these two people together.And, you know, whilst. That's a model as well. For very long time, it was hugely expensive for the care sector. So billion spent every year just on the kind of the agency models in the middle. And there's just so much that could be done with technology to improve those engagements. Sjoerd Handgraaf: [00:06:02] Yeah. And so Dan had experienced that problem himself.Charles Armitage: [00:06:05] Yeah. So he was the chairman of this nursing home that couldn't find nurses. And on the other side was a doctor who would occasionally work these flexible shifts in the NHS and, you know, weekends or holidays. I, you know, want to get an extra share for a bit more pocket money. And whilst I knew there was a shift down the road, I'd have to call up my recruitment agency and get sent to Birmingham and, you know, turn up and get thrown the keys and told, you know, that they'd be back in 12 hours.So it was January, a really poor experience and I needed a better way of doing it. Yeah. Sjoerd Handgraaf: [00:06:33] And so you said, Dan is your co founder, is he a more technical person, even though he ran the Charles Armitage: [00:06:38] care home? No. No. You've even less technical than me, which is quite fascinating. So, Sjoerd Handgraaf: [00:06:42] so how did you get to your first one? Was Florence Charles Armitage: [00:06:45] 1.0.Yeah. It was a bit of a disaster really Sjoerd Handgraaf: [00:06:48] tell us that sounds super interesting. Charles Armitage: [00:06:50] Well, I mean, it's always, I think it's ever not a disaster, so we. I remember we had a little bit of cash to start off with. Don't very much at all. And neither of us really knew anything about, you know, how to build a product, how to talk to users, anything like that.So we kind of thought, well, this, this problem, and we need this platform to do a hundred things. You know, we needed to manage the whole life cycle and all these different things, and we need it done in the next two weeks. So we only want to spend this amount of money on it. And so, you know, you go to the internet and ask the internet if.Someone can do that for you and someone somewhere puts up their hand and says they can. And, you know, we ended up spending few months, quite a lot of money to get, not even anything approaching an MVP that worked, and that was a bit stressful, but it was a really good learning point because what we then did is in that process, obviously you start speaking to users and, you know, I went and sat on a cow for a few months and drove some nurses to shifts and things like that.And you know, you speak to people and you. Kind of comes through realization yourself that actually what I need to do here really to solve 80% of the problem is a very, very simple product. And actually we ended up kind of rolling back to just a Google sheet where the nursing homes would go into a Google sheets and put in that shifts.And then 10 nurses that we'd found five such originate. I would say, yeah, interested in that one, that one, that one. And then that was it. There you go. You got a platformer. So Sjoerd Handgraaf: [00:08:04] you got a platform that didn't work at all, and then you thought, Hey, what's actually the basic feature that I need. And that was just purely Charles Armitage: [00:08:12] show availability.That's it. Sjoerd Handgraaf: [00:08:14] In a way to express the interest or something like that. Charles Armitage: [00:08:16] Yeah, exactly. So you've got a platform and I remember t
39 minutes | Jun 7, 2020
S1E3 - Building a marketplace for a fragmented market with complex workflows - Ruthie Amaru (Freightos)
We talk to Ruthie Amaru, CEO of Freightos, the world's biggest marketplace for freight. We’ll talk about how to serve fragmented markets, with complex workflows and middleman. We talk about how to get supply onboard before having demand, about building for trust and loads of other great things, especially for B2B marketplaces.
21 minutes | Jun 7, 2020
S1E2 - Optimize for quality and productivity in your marketplace - Josh Breinlinger (Jackson Square Ventures)
We sat down with Josh Breinlinger to dive into his long history with online marketplaces. Josh was early at oDesk and Rev.com and has invested in several marketplaces while working in Venture Capital at Jackson Square ventures. We talked productivity tools, being anti-hype, and quality in the marketplace.
44 minutes | Jun 7, 2020
S1E1 - Build something people want - Lenny Rachitsky (ex-Airbnb)
Sjoerd Handgraaf: [00:00:23] Hello and welcome to two-sided. I am Sjoerd CMO at Sharetribe, and I'm your host. And this episode I talked to Lenny Rachitsky. He first founded his own marketplace company, then sold it to Airbnb, worked there for seven years until last year. Since then he has been writing fantastic content about marketplaces, which you can find at lennysnewsletter.com.I talked to him about his time at Airbnb about his framework for evaluating which marketplace to invest in, why Shopify still has a lot of work to do with their new shop app. Why Neighbor the Airbnb for storage might just work, but most importantly, we talked about how to kickstart and scale a marketplace business.I really enjoyed talking to Lenny and I hope you will as well.Hi Lenny, welcome to the podcast. Lenny Rachitsky: [00:01:17] Thanks for having me. Sjoerd Handgraaf: [00:01:18] Like I already mentioned in the introduction, so you worked a long time at Airbnb. Nowadays, you read a lot about marketplaces. I'm curious what got you first into online marketplaces. I dug a little bit into your history and I saw that Localmind was maybe the first one.Can you tell us a little bit about that? Lenny Rachitsky: [00:01:35] Yeah, you bet. So Localmind was a company that I started in 2010. I was working as an engineer before that for about 10 years, engineering dream manager. And I always had this goal of starting a company and it was randomly in Montreal visiting a friend at a conference, and we were talking in this idea for what Localmind turned into kind of spring out of that.And so I moved to Montreal to start this company and stayed there actually for eight months and then moved to the Bay area. And with the company was all about, was. It was around the time Foursquare was really popular and everyone was going to check it in. And there's all this data around location and where your friends are at and where you're spending time.And so we had this idea, what if, what if we could connect people that are at any place in the world with people that want to know what's happening there because everyone's got this phone in their pocket. There's a way to reach them. Now there's all this data about where people are and if they opt into, but if we could connect people at a place where people want to know what's going on at that place, and that's what Localmind was.You open up the app, you choose a place that you're thinking about going to, and then you ask questions and we route it to somebody there. Right now that's check in on Foursquare, Google or Facebook or someone that knows a lot about the place and that's what it did. Sjoerd Handgraaf: [00:02:43] And then questions like, you know, who's deejaying or like what's on the menu?Or like those kinds of things. Lenny Rachitsky: [00:02:50] Yeah. The most popular was like, how long has the line at this club? Is it busy at this restaurant? Or like, yeah, that kind of thing. And in the end we found it wasn't a big enough problem for people, so it wouldn't last as a standalone business. And that's how we ended up selling therapy and B.But it was fun and it might be possible now. It might be worth trying to have some time. Sjoerd Handgraaf: [00:03:10] Yeah. What's your, something with Localmind, because it is a kind of marketplace, but was there something that you learned there that you still feel like, Oh yeah, that is a huge lesson that I learned there. Lenny Rachitsky: [00:03:18] I rarely look back at local.Mine is kind of building a marketplace, but it definitely was, and we should probably spend more time on this, but I'd say the main takeaway is a marketplace, maybe like 90 I don't know, maybe 99% of the success of a marketplace is the same as the success of any business, which is just, does anybody even want this thing?Is this actually solving a problem for anybody? And so with Localmind, we basically eventually realized this is not a big enough problem. People wanting to go out and really needing to know what was happening at a place. So most of the learning there is just how could we have earlier knowing that this is not a frequent enough problem for enough people and maybe just a course or not.Sjoerd Handgraaf: [00:03:58] Yeah, because now while you were saying this, my question that was straight coming to am I like, okay, is there any other way you could have validated this without actually building a whole product? Lenny Rachitsky: [00:04:07] Yeah, maybe like we could have had text messages or something initially. But you know, it wasn't years of work and we built it pretty quick.Maybe the other lesson that's interesting is one of the more common ways to build a marketplace and to bootstrap a marketplace is to piggyback off of an existing network. Like the way Airbnb allegedly is, Craigslist and Uber, and a lot of other companies use Craigslist. So what we did is we bootstrapped off of Foursquare's data.We basically let you connect your four square account, and then we knew about every check in that you made, and as soon as you checked it on Foursquare, we had you. At that location in our app, and that made it a lot easier to scale. And with the work that I've been doing recently, looking into how the marketplace has worked, that's one of the more common strategies that worked back then and still works.Sjoerd Handgraaf: [00:04:50] And then, so Airbnb bought Localmind Was it like an acquihire? Did you then straight move into Airbnb? Lenny Rachitsky: [00:04:57] It was not technically an acquire. They acquired the whole company. All of us went over except for one person who decided to do some different, and they bought us as a team and they wanted us to. Work on a specific need that they had at that time, which was based on, so at that point, the kind of the strategy of the company was focused around what was called snow white snow white frames, which there's some articles about this.And the way that worked is Brian, the CEO over the holidays, red. Walt Disney's biography, and he learned as he was reading that, that the movie, snow white, was the first animated feature film. And to make that possible, they have to use storyboards in order to kind of map out the story. And when you make a storyboard, you basically map out the key frames of a story to understand where it goes and how it all fits together.And what Brian kind of realized while he was reading it as a trip on Airbnb is just like a story that unfolds. There's a beginning, there's a middle, there's an end. And what he ended up doing is hiring a storyboard artist from Pixar to come work at everybody full time and to map out the story of an Airbnb guest and an Airbnb host.And so if you go to the office at Airbnb on CDs frames on the wall, and it's something that folks look to when they're thinking about what to focus on, how to think about the user. And so this happened right around the time they acquired us. And the reason they wanted us to work at Airbnb is they wanted us to nail the, I'm out and about in a city.What should I do? How do we make that experience amazing? And they wanted to make every one of those key frames amazing. At week. And so they acquired us, focused on that problem, and we ended up building something that ended up not launching later. But that's its own story. Sjoerd Handgraaf: [00:06:33] Yeah. So what's your journey within every MBA?So you started with that then for you moves into growth. Lenny Rachitsky: [00:06:40] Yeah. So first we built that, then we moved into building a community platform for the host community. To help them connect with each other and share stories and tips and tricks. So we built out what we call the groups or maybe groups, and then we moved into just building courthouse tooling.And then that morphed into both kind of a combination of host quality work. So I led a team that built things like the super host program and a few other programs that launched around that time. The review system helped make some changes there. And then in parallel, we worked on, or our team worked on a product called instant book.That made it a lot easier to book on Airbnb. So that was two and a half years of my life growing in some book. And then the last thing I did is for two and half years also was leading the supply growth team at Airbnb and then moved to the product. So originally as an engineer, I moved into product. And so I was doing all that as a product manager.Sjoerd Handgraaf: [00:07:27] Yeah. And so for those who don't know, instant book was to move to direct booking. Right. Rather than having to wait for approval from a host and as a growth lever, it was huge. Right? Lenny Rachitsky: [00:07:37] Yeah. I'd say looking back, if we didn't make that bet, Airbnb would be in much worse shape. But there's a lot of work and very nuanced and.Tricky, but it worked out really well. Sjoerd Handgraaf: [00:07:47] So would you say, is it because I had a question here, which I'm not sure applies, but would you say that you've been running growth teams because you're often associated with the growth part? I mean, I know you're a product manager or like most recently there, but would you say that you've been running growth teams?And the reason that I'm asking this is because I'm really curious to hear. Like because you've been there, I mean, it's a relatively long time for that kind of company, and so I'm curious to see how different was it to run a growth team when you started towards the end? Lenny Rachitsky: [00:08:17] I would say maybe the last three or four years of my time at Airbnb of the seven I've worked on growth growth in quotes.Prior to that, it was not growth. It was things like the quality of the marketplace, just like core product for the host community. The community stuff I mentioned, and then for the last couple of years, focused on conversion of the guest experience, host supply, things like that. Sjoerd Handgraaf: [00:08:41] You mentioned, I think it was in the below the line pod
1 minutes | Jun 3, 2020
Two-Sided - The Marketplace Podcast - An Introduction
Hi and welcome to Two-Sided, the podcast about building an online marketplace business. My name is Sjoerd, I am your host and also the CMO at Sharetribe, which is the company that brings you this podcast. We decided to call it Two-sided, because of course we’ll discuss Demand & Supply, but also the good sides and the bad sides, the easy and the hard parts, how it looks from the outside versus what is really going on inside of an online marketplace. In this series, we sit down with marketplace entrepreneurs, investors and other brilliant minds who work with online marketplaces and two-sided platforms every day. We will talk about starting, building, growing and scaling, and every stage in between. In each episode, we will do our best to uncover insights and wisdom you won’t find anywhere else. I promise you that if you are into marketplaces, you will really enjoy this podcast. So please, subscribe to get updated on the latest episodes, and if you know someone else who might be interested in this topic, don’t hesitate to share this with them!
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