How to reach exhaustiveness of supply? That is one of the most complicated and at the same time most interesting steps to figure out when building a marketplace. This is the reason why all marketplaces frantically measure their supply coverage levels and try to improve it continuously. For example transportation startup Lyft is known to measure the length of passenger pick up times. The conclusion they have reached is that a seemingly small difference between 4 minute and 12 minute pick up time results in a big impact on business. You might think it would reduce amount of rides taken by maybe three times or so? Well, if a customer gets upset with a long waiting time once or twice she simply switches to a competitor – the actual outcome is really about having a business or not having a business.
In the past few years while building YPlan I have spent a lot of time analysing and looking at a variety of other marketplace businesses. I’ve been talking to their founders, customers and suppliers trying to understand how to build a successful marketplace. In the process I have received a lot of questions about the intricacies of building it, hence wanted to share some thoughts and patterns which seem to be common across startups that try to become leading marketplace in their respective verticals.
1. What Are The Downsides Of A/B Testing?
1) It is time consuming.
Implementing any A/B test is a considerable extra load on engineering, product management, and data science teams. It usually means 2x (or more) work – not only do they need to implement both “A” and “B” features, but they also need a system to split customers into groups, consistently display one version to each of the customer groups, and then track and analyze results.
Have you ever experienced a situation where your friend shows you an event on YPlan and you realize that his/her YPlan app looks very different from yours? If so, then welcome to YPlan’s A/B testing in action!
Following my last post on this blog, I received quite a few questions from readers that were related purely to our A/B testing technique. Here I will try to explain why, how, and when we use the A/B testing at YPlan.
Although raising a large funding round is only a start to the journey (closing such a round is like getting into a really fast sports car with an accelerator already on – that fact itself is great of course, but you better know how to drive it and where you’re going), it does serve as an essential business growth enabler and is therefore the key to success for many business models. For part two I’ll be focusing on the rest of my key learnings that have helped us to succeed so far.
YPlan has raised successful Seed and Series A rounds in the recent past and I have been promising to write a dedicated post about the secrets behind fundraising for a while. It’s been a crazy period: just in the last couple of months I have met our investors in Boston, shook hands with a couple of partners in Los Angeles, interviewed new hire candidates in San Francisco (coming soon!), picked up the Apps World award for “Best Entertainment App,” and presented YPlan at a Goldman Sachs Private Internet Company Conference in Las Vegas – not to mention the dozens of return flights in between. I’ve finally managed to spare a minute, so I’d like to share my experiences based on the two YPlan fundraising rounds over the past 18 months ($1.7m Seed round in July 2012 and the $12m Series A round in June 2013). Split up into two posts, part one’s main focus will be: fundraising 101 – the basics. So here it goes, in no particular order. Read the rest of this entry »
I’m on yet another crammed economy red-eye flight going from our New York office to attend an industry event in London. While the food is, as usual, top quality airline gourmet and my neighbor is reading a newspaper with the light blasting right at my face, I thought I’d put a few lines down in retrospective. It’s hard to believe that in less than two years we grew out of the white board in my dining room into a business employing a 50-strong team of professionals. We have two great offices in London and New York, with many more in the cards.
We called this adventure YPlan about a year ago and could barely dream of taking off with such accelerating speed.