At its inception, AirBnB didn’t have anything intrinsically monopolistic about its model. In at least two cities of India, local taxi owners are indeed setting up taxi coops to compete with Uber and Ola, the two big aggregator cab players in India. BookMyShow is a very successful events ticketing company in India. Even in the TicketMaster example, venues — including London O2 — can and do acquire customers directly, so TicketMaster doesn’t qualify as monopoly / duopoly. So, I’m not sure if I agree with the premise of this post. That said, I agree that startups do badly underestimate CAC, most of them because they’re drunk on the Kool-Aid of being innovative and totally miss the need for marketing. This includes even Uber , at least in India. They’ve reached where they’ve reached today only because they had the investor backing since inception to be able to burn cash to acquire customers (and drivers).