Successful new ventures often do something completely different than established companies in the same industry. Uber was founded in 2009 and their most recent valuation is north of $40 billion dollars. That’s an insane amount of money, but Uber is growing rapidly in a huge global industry (transportation). Becoming the standard for a global industry like that is worth a lot of money. AirBnB is a similar story; renting out your home to make some extra cash and bam, they are becoming a serious competitor in the hospitality industry.
Enabling customers to make their lives easier or generate more income; these new customer-focused companies are changing complete industries.
Innovators like these companies develop new technology to allow people to do things in a new way. However their business models aren’t protected by patent law or something similar. This allows other companies to use these new business models, allowing them to either (a) copy the model and compete with the original innovator (AirBnB, for example) or (b) use the new business model in a different industry or industry niche.
Competing with AirBnB and the likes does not seem to be the most logical choice; AirBnB didn’t become the company it is now by copying an existing business model; they created a new one.
However, it sounds logical that these new business models can be used in other industries as well, and apparently companies have been doing so. Quite a lot.
A quick overview of some initiatives of AirBnB’ styled businesses:
- (Airbnb for boats)
- (Airbnb for dogs)
- (Airbnb for outdoor gear)
- (Airbnb for campsites)
- (Airbnb for toilets)
- (Airbnb for 3d printers)
- (Airbnb for kitchens)
- (Airbnb for parking spots)
What this implies is that the innovations from the famous startups (Uber, AirBnB, BirchBox), create a plethora of opportunities for entrepreneurs and businesses around the world. The technology is often a lot cheaper given you’re not the first mover, which would be the AirBnB’s etc, the business model is proven and there’s probably still plenty of industries/niches that.
You’ll probably won’t end up with an Uber valuation when you create an “Uber/AirBnB/Tinder for X” type of business, however it does create a lot of opportunity.
Rather than seeing this as copying or unoriginal, we should start focusing on how we can use these new business models for other categories by looking at them in a more abstract manner. Tinder is a dating app, however Tinder’s user experience provides opportunity for concepts that need a low-barrier, many-to-many type of interaction where photos or short snippets of info are the standard. This can be implemented for content, professional networking etc.
Have you heard of some cool or unorthodox uses of these new business models? Please share in the comments!