Business Models Worth Exploring

It’s been a little bit since I posted anything in this forum, but I’ve been keeping a steady newsletter that you can find here. However, there have been two specific startup business models on my mind recently, and I’d love to bring them to the table for discussion.

Vetted or High-Touch Marketplaces

Marketplaces have been wildly popular as a startup funding category in the recent years. Airbnb (hospitality) and Uber (transportation) kicked off a wave of consumer-facing companies unbundling Craiglist, the marketplace to rule them all.

I’m getting more and more interested in the marketplace model for B2B transactions, especially those that come at a low volume but high price point. The purpose of these marketplaces is to bring forward price transparency and remove transaction friction. An example would be Arta, a marketplace for high-end shipping and logistics. Arta works with a select group of vendors on the supply side and only opens up this network to their customers.

They ‘vet’ their supply before on-boarding them to the platform in order to maintain trust and consistency throughout the process for users and businesses on the demand side that expect a level of quality. Cadre is another excellent example of this type of business.

High-touch marketplace software platforms make sense in industries that have been reliant on relationships to conduct transactions so a high level of trust goes into each decision. While there is a lower volume of transactions, the dollar amount can be significantly higher. Industries worth exploring: real estate leasing + brokerage, hospital purchasing + infrastructure, energy marketing + trading.

Integrated Data Platforms

Of course, big data is a huge buzzword/phrase. But the need for big data platforms makes total sense. For years, across industries, data has existed in separate silos without links between the nodes. An insurance company might have one database regarding customer information and one database regarding claims information, but no way to connect the two.

Palantir is a company that deploys into situations across industries to properly integrate data, build pipelines, and present the data in an information that is digestible and actionable. They work in a partnership capacity with large companies across dozens of industries, so I’m asking, who can unbundle Palantir? I would be incredibly interested in businesses that can creatively piece databases together in a vertical and create a holistic data platform that would be presented to businesses either through a web or mobile dashboard or as an API.

Take the automobile industry for example. Data about purchases, leases, supply chain, parts, etc. is dispersed throughout various companies and locations. What if I wanted to know the relationship between cars that used a certain type of engine and lease rates in a certain geography?

Could someone find a way to piece at least some of the silos together so links between information becomes actionable? Obviously proprietary records are at stake here, but the way a company obtains its data could show its mettle. Industries worth exploring: pharmaceuticals, drug discovery, insurance, lending, auto, supply chain + logistics, health records, investment + trading information, aviation.

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