Airbnb, Etsy, Uber: Expanding from One to Many Millions of Customers
By 2019, two-sided online platforms (or marketplaces) were among the highest-growing internet startups around. These marketplaces sought to match suppliers of assets for rent, physical products, or services with customers demanding them. Among the most notable two-sided platforms that quickly reached millions of customers were Airbnb, Etsy, and Uber. They offered short-term property rentals, handcrafted goods, and car rides, respectively. As two-sided markets grew past the 1 million customer mark, challenges of typical large businesses appeared. Among the challenges facing Airbnb, Etsy, and Uber were maintaining the fast pace of customer acquisition, reducing customer retention problems, and avoiding regulatory issues. How did these platforms balance their fast growth and massive size with so little time to adapt to ever mounting challenges? How did they adapt and change their customer acquisition tactics to grow from 1 million to many millions of customers so quickly? This is the third and final instalment of the Airbnb, Etsy, Uber trilogy.