Category Archives: Business Case

What’s your recommended size?

Shopping online is more convenient, however it becomes tricky when shopping for clothes as we’re not able to try the clothes on. Hence, we purchase items in the size we think fits us best. This, unfortunately, may not always work in our favour. Often, we receive an item that doesn’t fit us well. We then either return it, store it at the back of our closets hoping one day it will fit, or give it to a friend. Essentially, a waste of time and money.

ASOS, a large online fashion retailer, just launched a new recommendation tool that helps solve this problem for their shoppers.

What is it?

The new tool provides customers with a personalized recommendation of a size it thinks will fit them best. It suggests a size based on customers’ past purchases and returns. Here’s how it works (Cherrington 2017):

  1. A recommended size instantly appears when the customer views an item.1
  2. Clicking the link shows the customer what the recommendation is based on.2
  3. Customers also have the option to provide input to improve recommendation accuracy by: (1) selecting which past purchases didn’t fit, (2) adding height, weight, age, and desired fit type (very tight to very loose), (3) selecting tummy shape, hip shape and bra size.

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If a customer is new, they can add in their height and weight and discover which size similar customers purchased and did not return.

ASOS has received a backlash for introducing this new tool. Some women have taken to Twitter to vent their frustrations that the tool is insulting and inaccurate. (Cherrington 2017)


Others have responded more positively to the new tool, as customers no longer have to guess which size would fit and it saves the time and effort that would have been spent on returns and exchanges. It not only provides a personalized recommendation to customers, but it also includes the input of customers to produce better results, making customers feel like they are part of the creation process.

ASOS’ business model is to provide their customers with engaging content and experiences, great fashion at a great price and excellent service through an “effortless online and mobile shopping experience”. (ASOS 2017) More than just a fashion retailer, ASOS prides itself as a technology company – constantly innovating to improve service and customer experience. This new recommendation tool is a strong reflection of their business model and values.

Efficiency Criteria

The joint profitability criteria is met as this recommendation tool improves the joint value for both ASOS and its customers. While some customers are currently unhappy with this new tool, once ASOS improves the system to deliver more accurate recommendations, customers are likely to appreciate the tool more. It saves them from spending money on clothes that don’t fit and will increase customer satisfaction.

The investment cost of this new recommendation tool is low as the company only needs to improve the recommendation system based on feedback. The company also benefits from the increased customer satisfaction and sales from customers that previously abandoned their shopping cart due to size concerns.

The feasibility of the required allocations is also met. The polity and judiciary dimensions of the institutional environment do not relate directly, however the social norms dimension is met as ASOS has a strong reputable brand,  thus creating trust with customers.


ASOS 2017, ASOS Story, ASOS Plc, viewed 9 March 2017, <;.

Cherrington, R 2017, ‘ASOS Is Guessing What Size Its Customers Are, And They’re Not Happy About It’, The Huffington Post, 24 January, viewed 9 March 2017, <;.




Arcbazar, designing through a contest

Always wanted to change your house, your garden or just want to switch your interior up, but you did not know how? Arcbazar is the answer. It is the number 1 crowdsourcing marketplace for architectural, interior and landscape design projects and let you crowdsource your projects to over 10.000 architectural, interior and landscape designers from around the world.

Arcbazar was founded in December 1010 by Imdat As, Ana Batista and Halit Ciftci, after realizing that all too often clients could not find an easy and affordable way to find competitive architectural design services, while at the same time, designers had a hard time to connect to clients and use their design talent. Their website is the first website that holds online competitions for small to medium scale design projects. Their aim is to help their peers, young designers and architects find exciting design opportunities from design conscious individuals.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor arcbazar

Starting your project

At Arcbazar, any client can start a design competition. Here you can fill in your title and your project type and Arcbazar will already come up with a list of deliverables that designers should come up with. You can alter this if you need any specific document or if you want less deliverables.  After this basic information, you are asked to describe your project. Arcbazar even helps you with some questions that can be answered in order for the project information to be more complete. Here the project can be described, but also your goals, challenges and specific requests to the designers.  You set the deadline, fill in an award and launch your project. If you’re still in doubt about the project, you have 24 hours of free cancelation.

How should you reward the designers?

The minimum award of your project is given by Arcbazar to make sure the awards are fair to the designers. However, this minimum amount is nog the ‘perfect’ award, Arcbazar also suggests an ideal award for your design competition, but you are free to choose your own. This award also should be payed up front, to make sure the designers get rewarded for their effort. One of the new things of this contest is that more than one designer will win a price. The 1st prize winner you select will get 60% of your award, the 2nd prize winner 30% and the 3rd prize winner 10% of your award money. If you feel bad for other designers which idea you also liked very much, you can give them an extra bonus. If there are no submissions at your deadline, the competition is void and you will get your money back.

Interaction between clients and designers

You can keep in contact with the designers through a wall where designers can ask you questions about your project. All questions/answers in the wall are public, so every designer gets the same amount of information. If you want to inform the designers even more during the project, you can also post any text/images on your project wall. Designers who signed-up for your project will automatically get notified.

How to select your winner?

It is hard to select a winner of your competition. Therefore Arcbazar created a public voting feature, which you can select after the deadline. Users of Arcbazar can then vote and evaluate your project designs and give you valuable feedback on your submissions.

What’s in it for the designers?

Of course the money you can win is a big motivation for designers to participate. However Arcbazar also has a point system. To motivate the designers, designers can get points when voting for other projects, signing up to a project, submitting an idea to a project and when winning prizes. To motivate them to actually submit an idea after they signed up for a project, they can also get a deduction of points when not submitting to a project they signed up for. There is a top 50 designer page on the website linking to their profiles, so the more points you get, the more exposure you get.

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Designers can even earn money by using affiliate company products in their design. At the end of each year, Arcbazar will share 10% of all product sales proceeds with all designers proportionally.

Kérastase Hair Coach: the smart hairbrush

When it comes to hair, it not a secret that especially women spend big time. In U.K women for example spend around £350 per year on hair salons- excluding other hair treatments and hair products( Healthy shiny hair is the dream of every woman and they will try every product and treatment to achieve it. It appears Kerastase heard all these wishes, and recently introduced the Kérastase Hair Coach Powered by Withings.

How it works

The smart hairbrush incorporates numerous fancy technologies that analyze and monitor the hair’s health. The first step is the assessment of the hair condition. The hairbrush is able to provide a hair quality score. Essentially, the hairbrush is equipped with a microphone and conductivity sensors that make all the evaluation. On the one hand the embedded tiny microphone detects the sound of the brush tines working through the hair. Then these auditory data are transmitted to a mobile app, where frizziness, dryness, split ends and breakage is detected with the help of a smart algorithm. On the other hand, the conductivity sensors recognize whether hair is wet or dry (because sound waves of wet hair imitate the sound of smooth and less damaged hair). Then combined with the data accumulated by the microphone the app is able to offer a more accurate reading.

The second step is the estimation of  the brushing quality. With the help of elegant tools (accelerometer, a gyroscope, and 3 axis load cells) the brush detects your brushing patterns. Basically, it evaluates the force & rhytme when combing the hair, analyzes the gestures and counts the strokes. The info is once again sent to the application that in turn make specific recommendation. In particular, the app is able to provide insight on how to avoid damaging hair, how to improve brushing habits and how brush use impacts the quality of hair.

The final step is for users to receive personalized advices and product recommendations. The app even takes into account external factors (humidity, temperature, UV and wind) before combining it with the rest of the accumulated data. Hence, thorough insight and more accurate personal consulation is given to the consumers. Based on the users’ hair profile the app then proceeds to recommend the appropriate Kerastase products and routines.

Value co-creation

Users brush their way into co-creating value by providing the necessary data for the smart algorithm to make the diagnosis and to subsequently provide personalized recommendations. User’s brushing habits, hair quality and geo location data (for external factors such as weather) are gathered and drive the whole process. Successful diagnosis leads to better customized advice and more accurate product recommendations.

Kerastase benefits by potentially increasing its products sales and by better targeting consumers. The first source of profit is the hairbrush itself. Subsequently through the hairbrush and the app the company can satisfy the needs of its customers by offering personalized advice and recommending the right hair products to the right consumer (instead of depending on hairdresser to recommend and promote its products).

Efficiency criteria

Even though it is a smart brush, users will still use it the same way they would use any other brush. Hence it is an easy to use product and no extra amount of effort is required. The hairbrush however is pricy (at $200), which means that users should spend a respectful amount of money to acquire it. Nevertheless, on the long run users could potentially save money and time.Improving their hair’s health means less visits to hair salons and less expenses on hairdressers, hair treatments and on wrong products.

For the company the hairbrush might be a new source of income, provided that users embrace it and are willing to actually spend $200 on a hairbrush. If indeed users are lured to try it the company can subsequently drive further its hair products’ sales and its revenue. The generated revenue will then have to cover the R&D costs, which should be quite high since it is an innovative technological product. Last but not least, by exploiting the collected data the company can increase its insight and use them for future developments.

Overall, time will tell if users indeed will be impressed by this innovative technology, invest on it and engage with it. Compared to conventional brushes the Kerastase smart hairbrush is without a doubt substantially more expensive. However, consumers and predominantly women already spend around $80 for other styling tools (e.g. hair straighteners), hence compared to them the hairbrush does not seem that expensive. There are two key factors that would determine its success. Firstly, whether the company will succeed in convincing the consumers to spend more on the short run and save more on the long run. Secondly, it has to ensure that users will actually buy the products that the app recommends (users could easily turn to another brand to e.g.  buy a shampoo for damaged hair). Since Kerastase hair products fall in the luxurious category and are thus pricy, the app could perhaps include more economical products as well. These products should however belong to L’Oréal which is Kerastase’s parent company(something that might lead to product cannibalism however it could also increase the sales of the L’Oréal company products over those of its competitors).


Cheers to a more sustainable world

As one of the world’s largest brewers, Carlsberg wanted to create a greener beer. The bottles of the Danish brewer have already a green color for decades, but the ‘Cheers to Green Ideas’ competition was launched to improve the environmental impact of beer. The company has incorporated an open innovation model and asked consumers and companies from all over the world to submit ideas about greening the beer. Using the wisdom of the crowd, Carlsberg wanted to have a positive effect on the environment through drinking beer.


“We believe that business has a leading role to play in developing concepts such as the circular economy or closed-loop practices to drive positive change.” – Cees ‘t Hart, CEO, Carlsberg Group


Carlsberg is aware of their position in today’s world, and therefore know that they can contribute to a more sustainable environment. To achieve this, they created an open innovation model. They opened op for external ideas and collaborations. For instance for the ‘Cheers to Green Ideas’ competition, with the collaboration with Sustainia, a think tank that wants to create a more sustainable future. Together, Carlsberg and Sustainia wanted to build on the world of tomorrow through launching a sustainability competition in 2015.


The challenge

In 2015, Carlsberg announced the ‘Cheers to Green Ideas’ competition. During a three-week period, consumers, firms, and entrepreneurs from all over the world had the possibility to submit their ideas about making the Carlsberg’s beer more sustainable. The competition highlighted three key challenges to consider: how to package beer in an eco-friendly way, how to increase recycling, and how to use less water and energy during production. In total, six finalists were selected out of the 162 submitted ideas by a Carlsberg jury. Two awards were to handed out to the best ideas: Cheers to Green Ideas Award, mainly intended for companies and entrepreneurs, and the JC Jacobsen Special Award, intended for consumers.




From closed to open

This competition shows that Carlsberg has an open innovation model. They are open to collaborating with other companies and organizations, and the input of consumers. Even though many companies benefit from the transition from closed to open, this often does not go without resistance, and therefore does not happen overnight. The process often faces organizational, social, and psychological barriers.


It’s a change process

Opening up an organization requires change, demanding for a different mindset. While changing, firms can face various barriers. Organizational barriers can be encountered with all activities that have to do with implementing co-creation (complex governance, operations, intellectual property etc.). Also, there can be psychological and social barriers, which can occur in a team or among employees (inertia, fear of the unknown, not invented hear syndrome etc.).




Get ready for co-creation

Managing the process from closed to open well can result in a profitable business, but where should firms pay attention to? Using the following steps can help to overcome the aforementioned barriers.

Start with why: explain why change is need

Shrink the change: divide the change into small steps

Go for direct result: generate quick wins along the process

Cut the leash: give autonomy and show value for individuals

Do it together: create a feeling of unity and shared identity through team building to create trust and encourage people

Discover the feeling: show other successful cases to let people experience it to make them more at ease

Set the scene: provide a place by literally creating a co-creation environment apart from the daily business, inside or outside the company walls

Make it happen: incorporate the change in every activity and decision to make it a natural behavior

Get the board in: make sure higher management support the change and let them show their support with a rewarding system


Following these steps can helps firms to overcome barriers from going to an open business model and have successful co-creation competitions just as Carlsberg.



Carlsberg, 2015:

Carlsberg, 2016:

GlobeNewswire, 2015:

Fronteer, 2011:

Sustainia, 2015:

Sutainia, 2017:

Sustainable brand, 2015: hannah_furlong/carlsberg_saying_cheers_crowdsourced_solutions_sustainab

DayMate: for structure in our daily lives

Do you recognize these situations where you have a lot to do, or just simple have some tasks you keep on procrastinating? Your App Store probably offers a lot of these ‘to do’ applications. DayMate is a new arrival in this ‘to do’ industry but offers more than the mainstream ‘to do’ applications. DayMate aims to provide structure in your daily life, which especially comes in handy for people whom have difficulties with remembering chores or are chaotic-minded. The Dutch application DayMate is the follow-up of the already known application Assist Help. Assist Help was developed by Annemiek Modderman, whom son is suffering from ADHD. People suffering from ADHD face difficulties with applying structure in their daily lifes which leads to malfunctioning of their wellbeing. AssistHelp was already a great success for these people, however, DayMate is optimized for special use by using a clear standard setting and look&feel.

How does it work?

You simply add a task, by naming it and choosing an icon that comes with it. The icon appears in the center of the screen when the task is ‘active’ at the moment. There is a standard setting of 18 icons such as a washing machine (for doing the laundry), a trash bin, a Euro-sign and so on. The user specifies the begin and end time of the task and specifies on which days this certain task occurs. DayMate is especially designed for recurring tasks, in order to make your daily life more structured. That is also the reason why the user cannot set a specific date, because it should reoccur on specific days, which makes DayMate not an application for reminding certain activities.

Any weaknesses or strengths?

In the weekplanning, the user can see the coming tasks for that specific week, however DayMate only allows you to see the planned tasks per day, and does not provide a whole overview. Which is in my concern a pitfall of the application. A strength however, is the special support extension of the application. Users can assign a supervisor, whom keeps up to date with your planned tasks and can see your progress by using a certain ‘sensitivity measure’ which is basically a chosen smiley by the user of his/her mood.

So all together..

DayMate’s charm is especially its charisma and simplicity. DayMate can be a useful application for anyone who wants to bring some structure in his/her life, because you will be reminded with simple icons and notifications to perform a set of operations. For people with autism spectrum syndrome DayMate ensures greater clarity, especially with the tasks feature and setting apart of a supervisor. The clear design without too many bells and whistles, makes sure you do not get distracted.


SamenInGeld, a crowdfunding platform for mortgages.

SamenInGeld is a Dutch platform built specifically with the goal to crowdfund buildings and homes using actual mortgages. As with most crowdfunding platforms, the focal group of projects are those that cannot find funding at the traditional places like banks and other traditional mortgage lending businesses. Among the projects funded on this SamenInGeld are entrepreneurs that cannot get a mortgage through a bank due to inconsistent income and small time project owners that want to buy and renovate a building so they can use the building as a source of income through rent payments.

The advantage of this platform is that they managed to secure a AFM license which is legally required to officially offer mortgages in The Netherlands.

Business Model

SamenInGeld charges 0.5% of the total investment when the projects start and 0.25% every year the project is active to the money borrower. This is their primary source of income to support the platform. This means that for an investment of €100.000, they will receive €500 + €250 for 14 years = €4000.

The platform charges no fees to investors over their received interest, except for a small fee of €0.25 for every withdrawal from their account. This won’t make the platform owners rich though, since money lent cannot be withdrawn for 5-15 years.


To manage the risk of their investors, SamenInGeld allow loan seekers to split up the investment in different layers of risk and return. Some investors seeking higher profits might choose to take a higher potential reward by investing in a phase that will be paid later in the event of payment failure by the loan takers.


Legal requirements

Your author for this blog post is not in the slightest an expert on AFM regulation regarding private investment in mortgages, but I will do my best to use the sources available to assess the legal requirements of the platform and whether they conform to regulations.

Among the requirements to be met is the investor test. Companies operating under an AFM license that want to receive investments from private crowdfunders for investments higher than €500 need to test their potential investors on some their knowledge on the “risks of the project, crowdfunding in general and the specific platform” (

SamenInGeld matches this requirement. The funny thing is that the AFM makes the platform responsible for the review of the test and keep the requirements of passing rather vague. There are other requirements listed by the AFM like an €80.000 cap of total investment and a warning for investors to spread their risk. SamenInGeld meets those and other requirements by listing them clearly.


The running costs for the platform are quite low, and the business model allows for a steady flow of income for a long period of time (5-15 years). SamenInGeld smartly does not charge the investors a lot for investing in the platform, making the investment interesting for potential investors. The platform adequately counters legal repercussions by following the AFM guidelines.



You cover me, I cover you


Eventually, every individual is obliged to join an insurance company to cover yourself for the costs of for example damage or injury. Problems of such insurances are, amongst others, the high premiums, even though you might not even need insurance that year and bureaucracy. Wouldn’t it be great if you were able to set the price, rules, premiums and claims yourself together with a group of people?

Teambrella is a platform that is designed for peer-to-peer insurance service and backed with Bitcoin. Users have exclusive control over all the aspects of insurance to make it fair and transparent and to cope with the inefficiency of current insurance services (Kastelein, 2016). Users are able to form or join teams of different sizes online to cover each other and in which each peer is both a provider and consumer. The teammates decide how risky each person is and pay according to that.

Schermafbeelding 2017-03-10 om 17.45.08

The framework includes a decision-making layer, which consists of a server for communication and voting, and a payment layer, which is based on Bitcoin technology. The voting process exists to make sure all users have mutual control over the insurance, including new members, risk evaluation, rules and processing of payments. It is also possible to appoint proxies to vote on your behalf, but you have the casting vote. When you pay more for other teammates’ claims, your vote weight grows. Bitcoin is used as a mean of providing coverage and payment of reimbursements in order to ease the burden of payments. Each premium payment is a partly reimbursement of a claim and these payments are enforced by distributed wallets that prevent spending that is not sanctioned by the other peers. After voting, the servers automatically prepare a set of transactions from these distributed wallets of the providers to the submitted claim of the user (Kastelein, 2016).

Schermafbeelding 2017-03-10 om 11.59.36.png

Efficiency Criteria
The utility for the consumers is the fact that it is easy to use and access is available anyplace and anytime. It is free to sign up and consumers have full control over getting certain claims funded. Besides that the investments are very low. Consumers are able to get insurance at low costs and keep all the invested money when no claims are submitted. Additionally, the providers are able to vote which claim to back, so they perceive all the incurred costs as fair and they only pay for trusted members. In this way, users will be willing to switch to Teambrella, because it maximizes the joint profitability.

Teambrella is feasible and takes care of several institutional arrangements. The platform is fair, because it enforces the Golden Rule of ‘treat others the way you want to be treated’ and it aligns every teammate’s interest. Besides that, the platform is transparent. You see where the money goes and every decision in the team is made by discussion and voting, so every user has control. Furthermore, the platform is affordable, because no middlemen are present (, 2017). Also, the platform takes care of several concerns about security, privacy, fraud, failure, hacks, scams and bitcoin volatility. Finally, the founders calculated several coefficients and ratio’s, which make the platform solid (Paperno et al., 2016).

Also the institutional environment is taken care of. No contracts, obligations or policies are present. Teambrella is no business of insurance, so does not need a license. Furthermore, Teambrella resolves conflicts through its own tool; the alignment of interests and standards of treatment.

Schermafbeelding 2017-03-10 om 17.45.16.png

Teambrella makes non-transparent insurance companies unnecessary and opens up a completely new field of trustworthy and demanded peer-to-peer markets.

Kastelein, R. (2016) ‘Teambrella – A Peer to Peer Insurance System Using Bitcoin. Retrieved from:, 10th of March 2017.

Paperno, A., Kravchuk, V., Porubaev, E. (2016), WhitePaper: Teambrella: A Peer-to-Peer Insurance System., 8th of March 2017.


Seniors go Klupping: An innovative solution to reduce perceived loneliness of an aging population.

Can you imagine that one of your grandparents uses Tinder? Probably a lot of people do not even want to think of the idea, nevertheless a Dutch startup does! Addressing a very relevant issue in most developed countries, a continuously aging population, Klup tries to solve a corresponding and increasing phenomenon: the feeling of loneliness.

How does it work?

At first it sounds like a controversial concept, but as soon as the intension becomes clear people understand the idea. Basically the app works similar to the well-known dating-app Tinder: a profile is based on a picture and an indication of what people are looking for. Users, called ‘Kluppers’, can determine a location-range in which they are looking for others. If another Klupper is found, the user can like this person’s profile and in case of mutual interest, the users have a match and are able to start chatting. But from this point forward, any similarity stops since Klup only focuses on connecting people for friendships, not love-affairs. In addition, users are also able to directly invite people in the vicinity for a self-organized event.

The target group of the app are seniors of 55+ that want to be active but do not have someone to share an experience with. Since the app is freely available, the founders hope to earn money in the near future by even providing premium-accounts and advertising-opportunities for companies that are content related. Because seniors are becoming more modern, applications should focus more on this group and give them the opportunity to use a smartphone.

Social relevance

Unfortunately, for a lot of elderly people it is not so easy to call a friend if they long for companionship. More shocking is the number of a whopping 1.2 million seniors that admit to feel lonely (TNS NIPO, 2012). They do not necessarily miss a loved-one, but just someone to share things with. A factor that negatively influences this issue is the digitalization of contemporary life and the segregation of elderly. Nevertheless, a study by Mallenius, et al., (2007) indicates that elderly people are interested in using mobile phones and services, but they need to deliver real value for them. This relevant value is expressed in form of a more social, active, and independent life. A keyword for them should not be age, but functionality instead. The Klup app therefore links these two phenomena.

Future perspective

Despite elderly are often neglected in product development, they are the only growing age group in most developed countries (Mallenius et al,. 2007). Therefore Klup focuses itself on the “new generation of seniors” (Wolters, 2016), since this group is used to work with mobile devices, but also on informal caregivers such as family and home-care organizations to organize social activities with their clients.

Although the platform is still relatively small, it had its first big success in Rotterdam, and is now rapidly expanding across the country. Mainly because seniors are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of modern technologies, and are successful in the adoption of touch-based user interfaces, regardless physical or cognitive weaknesses (Häikiö, et al,. 2007). In addition, the app is widely promoted on national television and via public organizations. Therefore Klup is currently busy with the modernization and extension of a new platform which will be released around April 2017. Society throws heaps of praise on this relatively new idea, and for the skeptics of mobile device-usage, this app combines the best of both worlds: an online environment facilitating offline contact.


Häikiö, J., Wallin, A., Isomursu, M., Ailisto, H., Matinmikko, T., & Huomo, T. (2007). Touch-based user interface for elderly users. MobileHCI ’07 (pp. 289-296). Singapore: ACM. Mallenius, S., Matti, R., & Tuunainen, V. K. (2007). Factors affecting the adoption and use of mobile devices and services by elderly people – results from a pilot study. Sixth Annual Global Mobility Roundtable, (pp. 82-94). Los Angeles .                                                                                                                                      Snel, N., & Plantinga, S. (2012). Eenzaamheid in Nederland Coalitie Erbij. Utrecht: TNS NIPO. Wolters, M. (2016, september 27). ‘Tinder’ voor senioren blijkt hit in Rotterdam. (D. v. Vliet, Interviewer)                                        

Crowfunding in Real Estate

Investing into real estate
Investing into real estate has traditionally required large amounts of funds to even get started. While returns on real estate can in the long run be more attractive than investing in for example stocks, exposure to the market is lower for the general public because the barriers to entry are so high. The real estate market is currently on the rise again, and this trend can be seen in many countries. As an example, according to the CBS the price of existing houses in Amsterdam rose by 14.7% during Q2 of 2016. Moreover, the rise of crowdfunding is stimulating some interesting developments in the real estate market, especially with respect to investing possibilities for smaller investors.


Can real estate be crowdfunded as a form of investment?
Launched in 2012, Fundrise is a real estate crowdfunding platform that allows the “average” person to have to opportunity to invest into real estate projects. These projects range from pooled small investments such as a single family homes, to large corporate buildings. The platform has set a minimum investment price of $1,000 and allows its investors to start accruing interest on their investment as soon as a project is funded. The benefits from investing directly into real estate assets is that there are generally less fluctuations in returns (granted that the project goes according plans) and more transparency. In fact, in 2015 the average annual return for all the investments on the website was 13.1% (Forbes, 2015).


Efficiency Criteria
The platform is two-sided. On one side of the platform there are real estate investment trusts (REIT), which create portfolios by participating in the development of a variety of real estate assets such as hotels, shopping centers, houses and office buildings. On the other side of the platform, users (investors) can then invest into the real estate portfolios by essentially buying shares in these funds. Through this, the development projects are funded, built and eventually rented out or sold. Users can then earn gains or make losses depending on the success of the project pools in which they have invested. Users can however, not lose more than the initial investment that they put in.

As such, the platform creates a network effect in which the more users invest, the larger the pool of real estate assets can grow, and therefore the less risk to the users that they will lose their investment. The risks of real estate pools are defined clearly and are dependent on factors such as location, asset type, and structure. Users moreover have the chance to participate in redemption plans, in which they are able to sell back a certain amount of the bought shares to the respective REITs at the end of each quarter.

The business model behind the platform is relatively well protected against legal regulations. This is because it essentially deals in shares of the REITs to fund projects, rather than by providing a loan type structure. Moreover, users get a transparent view of the assets, structures, and locations that they are investing into. The one major downside of the platform is that your investment funds are essentially managed by an external management team, and are therefore dependent on their knowledge and execution. In this aspect, the user does not have the ability to exert direct control over the way in which their money is invested, which might not always be favorable.



Using a ‘healthy dose of guilt’ to achieve your goals

Over the years many different types of social online communities have gained popularity. It has allowed for individuals with widely differing interests to connect and interact with others that share common interests. Think of CouchSurfing, Facebook, Reddit, and SoundCloud, among many, many others. For those that are rather goal-oriented and keen on connecting with others that share a similar mindset, Linkagoal is the optimal social network.

Linkagoal is a social online community based on the premise of sharing personal goals and connecting individuals based on related life goals and ambition. On this social network users can engage with other goal-driven users. Besides sharing your own goals with the community, you can connect with members who can assist you in achieving your goals, or with people that are currently trying to achieve a similar goal. Linkagoal’s underlying belief is that barriers such as the lack of resources, guidance, experience, accountability, and encouragement, are what keep humans from reaching their goals. Thus, why not build an online community to make it easier for people to overcome these obstacles and achieve their ultimate goals. (ACN Newswire, 2014)

The online community takes on a simple, yet unique approach to foster goal-attainment of their users. Firstly, new members can create a goal and explicitly state what it is that they want to accomplish. Secondly, individuals are encouraged to share a post with other community members regarding their past and present events. The third aspect is called Progress Update, which entails that users keep the community up to date on their progress towards their goal. Fourthly, users are encouraged to create milestones, in order to help them stay on track. Moreover, members are expected to motivate others in attaining their goals. Furthermore, users can build their own mini-community by linking their goals to other similar goals. In addition, individuals can contribute to the attainment of other members’ goals by offering their knowledge and experience. Lastly, the social network offers a private messaging, so members can stay connected with their friends. (Linkagoal, 2017)

Despite their good intensions, Linkagoal has received quite some backlash for their claim that a ‘healthy dose of guilt’ provides ‘just the right amount of pressure’ to keep users on track. However, mental-health experts have condemned this approach, as they believe it could have detrimental effects on individuals. Furthermore, Linkagoal partnered with YouGov to explore drivers of motivation, especially regarding annual goals. They found that nearly 62 percent of social-media users feel a higher level of pressure to stay on track when others can see their progress. It is exactly this belief that experts find disturbing. Rather than ‘avoiding the negative, i.e. the threat of others knowing you have failed’, they believe Linkagoal should ‘encourage and reinforce the positive’. (Mail Online, 2016)

Nevertheless, the social network has a strong community base of over 2 million members, which is expected to grow even further. Therefore, the social network is primarily focusing on monetization, with the rollout of mentorship services, rewards, and goal campaign features in the near future (The Silicon Review, 2016). Furthermore, Linkagoal is available as an app on both Google Play and the App Store.

Who knows, maybe Linkagoal will one day join the ranks of Facebook or Twitter, only time will tell.


ACN Newswire. (2014). Linkagoal Secures $1.25M in Series A Funding. [online] Available at:$1.25m-in-series-a-funding [Accessed 10 Mar. 2017].

Linkagoal. (2017). Linkagoal | Share Your Life Goals. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Mar. 2017].

Mail Online. (2016). Experts hit out at ‘guilt and shame’ goal share websites. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Mar. 2017].

The Silicon Review. (2016). The Goal Based Social Network: Linkagoal, Inc.. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Mar. 2017].

Travellr, the holiday match maker

One of the most difficult choices in life is: where to go on holiday? TUI, which is the largest travel company in the world, is aware of this huge dilemma. That’s why they developed an app called ‘Travellr’, which can be described as Tinder for holidays. This app helps (especially young) people to decide where to go on holiday, with a little help from the crowd.

So, they combine Tinder with holidays? I’m interested!

It’s very simple. When you open the app, you will see a number of holiday pictures. Just like with Tinder, you have to assess these pictures one by one. When you like the picture, you swipe to the right and when you don’t like it, you swipe to the left. The pictures that are shown are REAL holiday pictures posted on Instagram. Geotagging makes it possible to identify where these pictures were taken. After assessing a number of pictures, an algorithm makes a top 3 of destinations that matched your preferences. More information about the destinations is shown and it is even possible to book a holiday to this destination.

Travellr top 3

But why would I use this application?

Most people make decisions about their holiday destination by talking with other people or by looking on the internet. This app takes the decision making process to another level for the following reasons:

  • Travellr is an interactive and easy way to find some potential destinations. And because it’s mobile, it works very fast: two minutes of swiping is enough to get a result.
  • The crowd helps you by posting their holiday pictures on Instagram. And they don’t even know it!
  • It’s just fun to do. And pictures say more than 1000 words, so you don’t have to go through a bunch of travel websites which make the choice even more difficult.

Travellr info

Sounds like an innovating business model, what about efficiency?

Travellr meets the joint profitability criteria as both user and company (TUI) can benefit from the app. The user can easily find a holiday destination and they can book directly at TUI, which increases sales. Moreover, the fact that Travellr provides some information about the destination, makes it beneficial for both users and company (get people interested). Furthermore the feasibility is satisfied as all the photos are publically available, which reduces privacy issues. They even have a geotag which means that they have NOTHING to hide (well, almost then). This also implies that the judiciary and social norms criteria are met, as the name of the poster is also included in the picture, which means that there are no copyright issues.

Why isn’t it a gigantic success then?

Actually, I don’t expect that it will become a popular app in the long term. The app is more suitable to find some inspiration, it’s not likely that people will base such an important decision just on this single app, let alone booking it directly. It serves just as a promotional tool to attract millennials. But I have to say: it’s a good tool as it is fun to do. In the end, this is the goal of TUI and I believe that they will succeed in attracting a younger target group.


How Deutsche Bank Crowdstorms the Future of Banking with Jovoto

Artificially Enhanced Banking

Deutsche Bank is Germany’s largest bank and has big markets in all continents. It provides wide-ranging financial services and like all financial companies is increasingly using online technology to provide these. Deutsche Bank believed they could use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve their business, but did not know how and were spending a lot of money researching this. Deutsche Bank therefore chose to collaborate with Jovoto, a company providing innovation platforms, to establish a co-creation project that got the public to provide it with ideas about AI. (Deutsche Bank, 2017)

Jovoto helps organizations to innovate. They set-up and manage online spaces that gather ideas about different questions posed by organizations. By doing this, Jovoto allows brands and NGOs to carry out a ‘co-creation process’ – to brainstorm at scale and to work out design and innovation challenges with more than 80 000 creative professionals. Jovoto call this ‘crowdstorming’, essentially a form of co-creation where the public and a company collaborate to generate ideas.  (Jovoto, 2017)

Schermafbeelding 2017-03-09 om 19.15.17.png

How did Deutsche Bank through Jovoto carry out co-creation?

Deutsche Bank got Jovoto to create an innovation competition, challenging the public to submit ideas and offering rewards for good ideas (key resource and process). Jovoto posted the challenge ‘share your vision of how Artificial Intelligence can help Deutsche bank reinvent its customer service experience’ and promised the best idea would win awards and cash prizes – see video below for a glimpse of the challenge.



Jovoto managed this competition and vetted who could contribute ideas, making sure the input was only from professionals. Jovoto determined the institutional environment of the platform. They make clear that all users keep the copyright of their ideas.

This competition offered ‘joint profitability’, providing gains for the company and public. For Deutsche Bank, it was a way to get new ideas about AI without having to invest in Research & Development (R&D). For professionals, the competition offered an opportunity to collaborate with a multinational (which boost their reputation) and possibly to win money (customer value proposition). In reality Deutsche Bank benefits more and so it had to make the competition prize attractive to motivate people to participate.

From the information available, it is not possible to tell how many ideas in total were submitted. Deutsche Bank said they had acquired 25 good ideas, but did not publish what these ideas were. As such, it is difficult to evaluate how successful this project was.


In general, the project seems to have worked well for Deutsche Bank. Deutsche Bank clearly think it has been a success, because they have since done two more competitions with Jovoto. It should be noted that even though these projects may save on R&D costs, Deutsche Bank did have to spend money to carry them out.

Based on Deutsche Banks’ case, other companies should also consider using Jovoto to set up co-creation schemes. It allows companies to generate new insights from a wide range of experts around the world. The submitted ideas are in general of high quality (feasibility requirement is met) and therefore are of great value for the company. Using conventional R&D methods (which are more expensive) companies are unable to get so many inputs of ideas or such high-quality ideas.


Sources (2017). Available at: Accessed on 09/03/2017 (2017) Acessed on 09/03/2017


Minted, where great designs come from

 “Could crowd-sourcing design build an e-commerce company that stayed in tune with its consumer audience forever?”- Mariam Naficy, founder of Minted

Minted was launched in 2007 after the owner Mariam Naficy got intrigued by the idea that there was hidden creative talent around the world whose work was not accessible to consumers and that the Internet could help surface. Minted started with a save-the-date card design challenge in 2008 and the company has been expanding ever since. Nowadays Minted is an online marketplace platform of independent artists located in Jackson Square, San Francisco. The marketplace offers a portfolio of four different product lines namely: stationery, fine art prints, home decor and wedding decor. (Minted, 2017)

 “Our purpose in life is to uncover exceptional design from all over the world and bring this to savvy consumers who won’t accept anything else.” – Minted

According to Minted, great design lives and thrives in the hands of independent artists that people do not have access to through traditional retailers. Minted uses technology to allow consumers to discover great creative talent, making Minted a place where artists can learn, gain exposure, and build their businesses. (Minted, 2017)

To give you an idea, the video below shortly shows an example of holiday cards.

How it works

The value generation lies within the hands of Minted’s customers and artists for several reasons. First, Minted continuously organizes open design challenges for independent artists from all over the word. The idea behind these challenges it that every artist, upcoming or experienced, is able to submit his or her ideas (Customer Value Proposition). These design challenges take place within every product line and next to Minted, consumers can also request for a design within a challenge. Second, within these challenges, customers vote on the design submissions and thereby deciding the winning designs (key resource and process). These winning designs are then taken into production and sold on the Minted marketplace (profit formula). By using crowdsourcing for physical design purposes, Minted applies a co-creator model (Chui et al., 2016; Johnson et al., 2008 Minted, 2017)

In addition, their crowdsource initiatives go even further. Minted’s community supports the personal development, creativity, and careers of independent artists in the world. Minted’s community currently exist of independent artists that are located in all 50 states of the US and more than 60 countries. For artists, Minted builds their brands and connect them with other artists. Within the community, artists are able to express themselves in a unique way and learn from critiques of other artists and talented peers (Customer Value Proposition). (Johnson et al., 2008; Minted, 2017)

Efficiency criteria

With the current structure of the challenges and Community, artists, customers as well as Minted benefit from it in distinctive ways. As you will see, this business model results in joint profitability for all parties. Within the platform, every artist is able to get exposure to the world and can thereby grow its own name. Artist of the winning submissions even receive a portion of every sale, and they earn a store where they can launch and sell designs using the Minted fulfillment platform with no need to manufacture, ship, or provide customer service. Customers vote and can thereby give direction to which designs they would like to see for sale (i.e. efficiency benefit). Finally yet importantly, Minted benefits from all the votes and uploaded ideas because it gives them certainty that they produce the most desired furniture. also satisfies the feasibility of required reallocations criteria.  First, the polity is not directly involved. Second, terms and conditions regarding what is allows and what not need to be accepted by stakeholders before contesting a challenge and creating an account on Minted. In addition, they only take 50% of the customer payment at the time that the customer accepts the project proposal. Remainder is retained by customer until the final artwork is approved and Minted does not remit the final payment to the artist until the delivery of the artwork is confirmed. Thereby ensuring for safe payments. (Minted, 2017)

To answer the question that started it all: YES, Minted shows that with crowd-sourcing design you can build an e-commerce company and stay in tune with its consumer audience forever.

Chui, C., Liang, T. & Turban, E. (2016) What can crowdsourcing do for decision support?. Journal of Decision Support Systems, 65: 40-49

Johnson, M.W., Christensen, C.M. & Kagermann, H. (2008). Reinventing your business model. Harvard Business Review, 86(12): 50-59

Minted (2017). From Assessed at 07-03-2017

Selling couldn’t be more easy- just snap, list and sell on Carousell!

Have you ever tried selling things you don’t need anymore online? You need to go to an online shopping website like eBay or Amazon, create your own profile and start posting all the products you want to sell. When a transaction is made, it’s very likely that you need to pay a fee to the website. You think that’s easy enough? Now there is an even easier way for you to sell things just on your smartphone by using Carousell.

About Carousell: What is Carousell?

Based in Singapore, Carousell is a mobile classified app which provides an C2C online marketplace for its users to buy or sell things on their iOS or Android devices. Carousell wants to make selling and buying online easier. Launched in 2012, Carousell has been working on improving user experiences and providing better services. Sellers on Carousell can sell things simply by taking photos of the item, listing it on Carousell and then selling it without any expenses or extra fees. Buyers can search for things they want simply by scrolling down the Carousell app. Once they find something, they can chat with the seller immediately and make the transaction as soon as possible. Until now, Carousell has become one of the world’s fastest growing online marketplaces. We can see Carousell providing services in 13 cities with over 41 million listings, including a diverse range of product categories like fashion accessories, lifestyle gadgets, and furniture.


Business model: How does it work?

Carousell provides a platform, a C2C online marketplace for its users to sell and buy things just with a few simple touches on their smartphones. There are two types of users on Carousell: sellers and buyers. Sellers take photos of the items they intend to sell, list them on Carousell and wait for buyers’ inquiries. Once buyers find the ideal item, they can send a private message to the sellers and discuss about the detail. Carousell doesn’t charge any fee on either seller or buyers regarding all the transactions. The service is completely free. However, how do Carousell make money? At first, Carousell is backed by international Venture Capitalist like Rakuten Ventures, 500 Startups and Golden Gate Ventures. They don’t charge users any fees because they are more focusing on growing its user base and market share. With more and more users using Carousell, now they are looking for ways to monetize their services. By making money through paid advertisements and premium services for users, Carousell is trying to generate revenue without the help of venture capitalists.

Efficiency Criteria

Carousell creates value and achieves joint profitability with its users. Sellers can get rid of the things they don’t use anymore or sell products on the platform Carousell provides, without paying any fee. Buyers can get what they want with an affordable price. C2C commerce no longer has to be processed by computers or laptops. All the product inquiries and transactions can be done on their mobile phones. Carousell not only provides a marketplace where people can trade, but also offers convenience so as to reduce the time and effort people spend. Meanwhile, users also give value to Carousell by creating a bigger user base. With a bigger user base, Carousell have more data for big data analysis and can sell advertisements to make a profit.


Tan, C. & Ming, C. (2016). Classifieds app Carousell exploring premium listings, services to bring in revenue. Retrieved from: on 2017/3/9

Russell, J.(2016). Southeast Asia-based Carousell raises $35M for its social commerce app. Retrieved from: on 2017/3/9

Making Money in Making Playlists

In the current streaming industry, it is very hard for startups to fight against the giants like Spotify and Apple Music. Moreover, it is almost impossible to maintain a music streaming company. This is also what the founders of ran into. These two entrepreneurs started their business in 2013 while they were studying and founded a platform that transformed links to music into playlists. They soon found out that they did not have an efficient business model; their revenue model did not work properly. It was too hard to offer the service in a profitable way.

When the founders hit rock bottom, they encountered one of the frequent users of their service. He told them that he was a dj and made money from developing the playlists for coffee rooms in Amsterdam. This gave the founders new motivation. They went from shop to shop in Amsterdam and did market research about the shops’ music facilities. Eventually, the founders came up with the idea of Atmosphere, which is a service that connects shops and hospitality businesses to musicians. For a 15% commission, Atmosphere makes sure that the shops get personalized playlist which match the brand image of the companies. In this way, the company was able to make money from making playlists. However, the requirements to join the platform are strict. Only unique music curators are allowed to develop the playlists, since the company wants to maintain its high quality service. The main goal for the coming period is a collaboration with an establish jazz musician or dj, in order to raise more brand awareness.

Nowadays, approximately 20 firms are already using Atmosphere. The customers vary from supermarkets to restaurants, from clothing stores to work spots spread over more than 100 locations. The fee for the service is €30,- on a monthly basis which can be extended with €15,- for an offline streaming cabinet and for €300,- extra the company develops a custom-made website for their clients which contain all of their playlists.

Efficiency criteria

  • Currently, retailers are trying to distinguish themselves from competition by creating a clear brand image. The in-store experience is very important for customers. In developing customer centric playlists, the companies establish their brand image. This is an important strength in the business model of Atmosphere.
  • Streaming music in shops is not free, the retailers have to pay a licensing fee for copyrights. Atmosphere is aware of this legal aspect and even anticipates to this by offering their clients the service to arrange this for them to avoid difficulties.

In conclusion, I think that Atmosphere has a bright future ahead. The perseverance of the founders seems to pay off and as the company raises more awareness, the customer base will continue to grow. The streaming business will keep rising and Atmosphere must try to rise along. If the company succeeds to eventually found a community to collect playlists, the possibilities are endless.


Tsekouras, D. (2016), Lecture 1: Introduction to value co-creation, Rotterdam School of Management.

Tinder for baby names

Every year various lists with the most popular names of children pass by. The SVB (Sociale VerzekeringsBank, 2016) did research about the most popular names of children born in 2016. Daan, Noah and Sem are the top three names of boys. The top three for girls is: Anna, Emma and Tess.

But (young) parents to be who do not want to give such a standard name to their child needs to spent a lot of time to choose the right name.

Hours of brainstorming and browsing through name books combined with hours of arguing will lead to a lot of stress for the young parents.

But there is a solution!

Zwitsal, a brandname of Unilever, which focuses on the baby and toddler product market, introduced the mobile app “Zwitsal babynamen”.

Continue reading Tinder for baby names

Introducing the future of fashion with Coded Couture

“We’re about to change the fashion industry by bringing the customer’s personality into the design process through data technology”. – Aleksander Subosic, co-founder of Ivyrevel.

Finding unique clothing can be difficult; custom-made clothing is usually not affordable and designing your own piece requires design experience, which most people lack. Ivyrevel, part of the H&M Group and the world’s first digital fashion house, partnered up with Google to solve this issue by combining couture with data technology. Together, they created the Data Dress: “A personalized dress designed entirely based on a user’s context signals” (Brook, 2017).


How does it work?

First, install the app and select an occasion e.g. party, gala or business, and a style for the dress. Then, simply carry your phone wherever you go (which you probably already do) and the app will use Snapshot API to learn from your daily activities, with your permission. During seven days, the app will capture context signals and ask you to confirm certain the data to ensure that it corresponds with your lifestyle. By doing all of the aforementioned, you become part of the value creation process. Finally, the data is passed through an algorithm that creates a virtual custom-made dress, ready for you to purchase.

Will customers buy the Data Dress?

According to a survey by Bain & Company, +/-30% of shoppers were interested in designing their own clothing. Furthermore, they found that unique products lead to lower return rates and create a deeper connection between shoppers and retailers (Wiggers, 2017). Thus, there is a potential market for the data dress.


Efficiency criterion

  • This video, shows that Kenza lives in Stockholm where it is -2°C and that she visited a fancy restaurant. Therefore, the app made her a black velvet dress with crystal details, reflecting her lifestyle. This shows that consumers will get a truly unique, on-trend, and custom-made dress. Additionally, consumers become part of revolutionizing the way we look at fashion. For fashionistas interested in technology this is the ideal combination, and it allows them to be early adopters within their community.
  • Ivyrevel aims to ‘merge fashion creativity with technological innovation.’ ( Thus, by introducing the data dress, Ivyrevel will achieve this goal. Regarding costs, Ivyrevel is not dependent on designers and won’t need to invest much in production, since it already has a clothing line and production facilities. According to, the dress will cost €93.
  • I expect that Google will receive financial resources by allowing Ivyrevel to use its API technology. Additionally, Google enhances its positive reputation regarding technological innovation and receives positive WOM.

Feasibility of Required Reallocations

Currently, the app has launched in closed alpha stage and is being tested by selected global fashion influencers (Brook, 2016). Since not much information is available regarding the specific institutional arrangements and –environment, I will propose a few.

Ivyrevel must consider:

  • The protection of consumers’ privacy. Consumers are responsible for granting tracking permission and Ivyrevel will not share their information with other parties.
  • Safe payments within the app.
  • Production processes that are carried out under ethic conditions.

It is important that Ivyrevel makes clear arrangements for these kinds of issues to prevent problems from arising.


Google blog:

Brook, J. (2017, February 06). Fashion gets a digital upgrade with the Google Awareness API. Retrieved March 6ƒ, 2017, from

Business Insider: Wiggers, K. (2017, February 07). Google partnered with H&M-backed fashion startup Ivyrevel to build customised ‘data dresses’ Retrieved March 6, 2017, from

Adformatie: H&M, Google en MediaMonks personaliseren jouw kleding. (2017, February 9). Retrieved March 6, 2017, from

TD Banks’ Home Run!

The funny and interesting part about talking with customers is that the underlying concepts don’t change dramatically over time. The word service is still defined in the eye of the beholder. The only thing that might change is that new innovations are provided to that service. Being customer centric is about thinking through the entire experience of using a product of service. For example, if you visit Disney, would you have thought that parking your car should be a part of the magical experience? Yes, it is. It’s all part of the end-to-end journey and it’s not just going on the rides.

One of the companies that has considered this scenario and that you probably don’t expect is TD (Toronto Dominion) Bank – America’s most convenient bank. This company already provides services to its customers for more than 150 years and you can even bring your dog with you while you are doing your bank transactions. Also, its mission statement mentioned that TD bank will be the best run and totally customer-focused. But, how does this exactly work and what’s in it for the customer?  

In my opinion, every company claims to be a customer-centric organization. So, what makes TD Bank different? Theresa McLaughlin works for marketing department of TD Bank and mentions that TD Bank really lives the customer-centric focus day in and day out. For more than 10 years in a row, TD Bank has been ranked first in overall customers satisfaction on J.D. Power’s annual Canadian Retail Banking Satisfaction study (,2017). A big part of their competitive advantages leads to joint profitability and seems to be very simple; TD Bank listens to its customers across all channels and has been responsive to every customer feedback.  An institutional arrangement seems to appear as all employees spend a lot of time on the customer journey to create an emotional connection with the customers. They know that this is really important as it results in happy and loyal customers.

Another strenght of TD Bank is that they are committed to understand and connecting to what matters most in the community where they work and live. TD Bank takes it institutional environment very serious as it helps to foster positive and lasting change in the society through local community support, investments and volunteer services. In 2015, $62.9 million was provided to non-profit organizations, 1,002 green project has been started and 1 in 3 kids has been reached through TD-sponsored children’s literacy programs in Canada. (TD Bank, 2015)

Last, TD Bank says thank to you…. and means it! Other institutional arrangements come in when we take a look at TD Banks’ annual customer appreciation event(s) which they organize every year. For example, they organizes their own ‘Customer Appreciation Days’ on which they give free coffee and cake to every customer.  In addition, three years ago, the ATMS were turned into automated thanking machines and then the magic happened; TD  Bank took the effort to give personalized gifts to its customers.

We can conclude that TD Bank is a customer centric driven company. The company takes it responsibility, takes care and listen to their customers. This results in a situation where both firm and customers are better off.


Harris, R. (2015) TD BANK’S WINNING APPROACH TO CUSTOMER SERVICE (Q&A) [online]. Available at: [ Accessed 8 Mar. 2017]

TD Bank, (2015). Corporate Responsibility Report. [online] TD Bank. Available at: [Accessed 8 Mar. 2017].


Airbnb Trips – The Next Move Towards Conquering the World

“The stuff that matters in life is no longer stuff. It’s other people. It’s relationships. It’s experience.” – Brian Chesky, Co-Founder and CEO of Airbnb

What is your purpose of travel? Is it food? Is it fun? Is it meeting new, inspiring people? Is it getting to know new cultures? Travel is about meaningful moments, experiences you make that you will never forget. But how do you find those places for magical experiences? On TripAdvisor? Go to TripAdvisor and search for “Things to Do” in your home town: Hop-on-Hop-off buses, overpriced boat tours, Madame Tussaud’s… Have you as a local, ever done one of those activities? Most likely you will say: “That’s just something tourists do.”

To prevent travelers from stepping into tourist traps, Airbnb recently presented its’ new offering – the world of trips:

Airbnb knows what travelers want – the ultimate local experience. The previous, successful years resulted in a platform offering millions of homes around the entire world to tourists that no longer want to stay in anonymous hotels. But CEO Brian Chesky realized that homes are just one single part of a great journey. A great journey lets you immerse in and join the local community. With the new product Airbnb Trips, also experiences and places will all be available in the app. So, what are those new features?

  • Experiences: The offered activities are not just organized by city, but also by passion, for example Sports, Nature, Social Impact, or Food. The available experiences can take from a couple of hours up to multiple days. Every offered experience is presented in a short video. About half of the trips are offered at a price below $200 (Airbnb: Experiences, 2017).
  • Places: Within this function, local legends list their top things to do in an “insider guidebook”. Additionally, also audio walks and meet-ups are featured.

Business Model Evaluation

What is the value added for the three main parties involved in Airbnb’s business model?

Consumers (travelers) – For travelers, the extension of Airbnb’s offerings provides a great value added, because the platform becomes a One-Stop-Shop for your entire travel. This will reduce the time necessary to prepare trips and give you new local insights during your holidays. Of course, this comes at high costs: 55€ for a sunset bike ride in Tokyo or 98€ for a 3h-cocktail workshop in San Francisco can not be afforded by budget travelers.

Providers (guides) – From now on, you can also become a host for activities. When deciding to become a host, you have to apply and Airbnb checks the experience for certain quality standards. The best experiences offer guests access participation, and perspective (see Figure 1). Next to monetary profit, the benefits are also non-financial: get more exposure for what you love, promote your brand, and meet locals like you (Airbnb: Become A Host, 2017).

Bildschirmfoto 2017-03-07 um 11.46.39
Figure 1. Assessed Quality Standards for Experiences (Airbnb: Quality Standards for Experiences, 2017)

Platform (Airbnb) – With this business model extension, Airbnb wants to become the platform for your entire trip. By embedding new features like restaurant recommendations and an integrated reservation system, Airbnb seems to aim at replacing existing platforms like TripAdvisor and Yelp. Motivation of this move clearly is Airbnb’s transition from a website for booking accommodation to a full-service travel company, which comes along with increasing its user-base and revenue. For Experiences, Airbnb brokers the payment from the user to the guide and takes a commission, similar to how its home-booking service works. For Places, the company has some revenue-sharing deals in place, like a partnership with Resy to book restaurant reservations. Also, the market for travel activities is still underserved and promises large potential. So far, only small vendors like Klook, I Like LocalPeek and Viator offer a comparable service. However, their offerings are very “touristy” and generic. Additionally, Airbnb can leverage its popularity to quickly establish its offering.

Feasibility of Required Reallocations

Internal ArrangementsAirbnb Trips is more or less an extension from providing accommodation to additionally providing activities and tours. However, this requires further administrative effort, especially related to the quality standards assessment. This assessment is necessary to assure a local and personalized experience, so that Airbnb can clearly differentiate from competitors. Also, videos for every experience have to be created.

External Environment – Airbnb already radically disrupted the global hotel industry by applying the principle of the sharing economy (Zervas, Prosperito & Byers, 2014). With its business, the platform did not only antagonize hotels, but also governments that try to proceed against housing shortage (Jefferson-Jones, 2014; Lee, 2016), coming along with several law-suits in major cities like Berlin, New York and San Francisco. The extension of its offering will most certainly not reduce Airbnb’s number of critics. For example, the ‘ownership of an experience’ is very difficult to assess. Who should get the money, when a guide shows you around a market? Don’t the market traders also deserve a proportion for being essential for the experience? Next to legal conflicts, a discussion about the social impact can be initiated. The commercialization of local experiences may destroy the original selling point of unique, original travel impressions.

All in all, Airbnb Trips moves the platform beyond its’ couch-surfing origins. The offering is clearly targeting the “emotionalization” of travel experiences, a next step in the service economy. This is a great possibility for travelers (who have the budget) to make unique memories. However, it comes at the cost of commercializing the local charm for the sake of profits. Airbnb should be careful and hold up high quality standards (e.g. small groups, special experiences) so that it does not destroy it’s newly designed value proposition.


Airbnb: Become A Host. Retrieved March 7, 2017 from

Airbnb: Experiences. Retrieved March 7, 2017 from

Airbnb: New. Retrieved March 7, 2017 from

Airbnb: Quality Standards for Experiences. Retrieved March 7, 2017 from

Jefferson-Jones, J. (2014). Airbnb and the housing segment of the modern sharing economy: Are short-term rental restrictions an unconstitutional taking. Hastings Const. LQ, 42, 557.

Lee, D. (2016). How Airbnb Short-Term Rentals Exacerbate Los Angeles’s Affordable Housing Crisis: Analysis and Policy Recommendations. Harv. L. & Pol’y Rev., 10, 229.

Zervas, G., Proserpio, D., & Byers, J. W. (2014). The rise of the sharing economy: Estimating the impact of Airbnb on the hotel industry. Journal of Marketing Research.

Hey neighbour, can I rent your drone?

Drones are becoming increasingly popular, cities are filmed from above with drones, drones can send packages and drones are even used in the army (, 2017). More and more companies and individuals are interested in using drones, but what to do when you do not own a drone or in contrary, when you have a drone, but you do not use it that often? The sharing economy is already present in various aspects of society and this is exactly where the new peer-to-peer drone rental marketplace Up Sonder responds to.

Up Sonder
Just like renting a room through AirBnB, it is now possible to rent a drone. Up Sonder is a free platform and takes only a 5% provider service fee as revenue and on top of that, a small portion of the revenue is donated to help deliver access to clean drinking water to Africa (, 2017).


Everyone who owns a drone can create a free profile and list their drone at their own price to become a provider and certified FAA remote drone pilots can also list themselves by adding their service. On the other hand, companies and individuals are able to filter and rent different kinds of drones and/or services in their direct area. The platform is easy to use and providers can manage and accept bookings from within the platform. Also, they are able to access payments, scheduling, inventory management, customer messaging and sales through the online portal. The renters on the other hand can schedule and make their payments quickly. Up Sonder collaborates with UberRUSH that picks up and drops of the drones when the rent is scheduled (, 2017).


Efficiency Criteria
The utility for the consumers of the platform, the renters, is the fact that the platform is simple and fast and can be used anywhere at anytime. It is free to sign up and create a profile. Renters will switch to Up Sonder, because they do not have to buy a drone themselves, so they save money, and providers will switch to Up Sonder, because they can still make money of (unused) drones at their own price in an easy way. Besides that, the renters and providers become part of a larger community, which is fun and in which they do not have to exchange the money and drone themselves. It saves them money and time and maximizes the joint profitability.

On the other hand Up Sonder is feasible, because the platform takes care of several institutional arrangements. Firstly, to make the platform more reliable, etiquettes are present. The renters and providers can see photos of each other on their profiles and afterwards, both parties are able to write a review. At the same time, providers are protected by the platform from damage with insurance up to 2,500 dollars and renters are offered a refund policy with three different cancellation policies. Additionally, Up Sonder has a non-discrimination policy to make sure that people from all backgrounds are treated equally. The platform takes also care of the institutional environment. When providers earn more than 600 dollars in a tax year they have to fill in a tax form and payments are made by means of established methods.

Up Sonder meets several efficiency criteria and is rapidly growing. Having a drone and using its services is made available for everyone!