Understanding Marketplace Business Model – Legal Challenges – Insights by Udemy’s Eren Bali

In June, I attended Echelon, Asia’s largest technology conference featuring 50+ global speakers, investors, startups, entrepreneurs, and prominent tech corporations.I got a chance to listen to Udemy’s Co-Founder and chairman, Eren Bali, who spoke about building a marketplace business.

What I really liked about the presentation was the way he dissected the marketplace business model while discussing best practices about designing the business. It was quite similar to how a lawyer analyzes various legal issues during a business transaction.

While explaining various components of a marketplace business model, Eren discussed that to start the business, the main goal is to connect demand and supply, which means acquiring more and more users to connect them with the supply side.

Other subsequent components of marketplace business include discovery, pricing, payment, user experience and support.

An important approach explained by Eren was to categorize all components as centralized or decentralized. In other words, if marketplace intends to control any component, it can be called centralized while if it is left to the supply side, it can be categorized as decentralized. For examples, companies like Uber tend to embody the marketplace as completely centralized wherein Uber manages almost everything except driving, whereas companies like Airbnb, ebay, craiglist etc. embody marketplaces as decentralized, wherein the supply side manages most of the stuff.

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