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Serious Entrepreneurs Are Building Marketplaces Around "Places"


The world has become a virtual landscape but we all still need a very basic necessity: space. We communicate virtually through text messaging, watch films on an iPad but we do so in the comfort of our physical homes or offices. 

So until a startup comes up with a virtual world we can actually inhabit, we compete for the best places to live, work and play in.   

It is no secret that Airbnb has revolutionized the way people travel for work and play. Five years ago it was almost unheard of but today almost everyone has used some form of short- term rental service. For entrepreneurs looking to make a business out of this model, it is important to understand not only the customer side, but the technology required to support a marketplace for place on a large scale.

Sharing and renting homes is not a new phenomena but it has gotten reinvented by the sharing economy thanks to the innovative ways these companies reach customers. Back in the day, you only heard of someone renting out a person’s home in haciendas or “couch surfing” as the term goes. Although the company has swept up a main portion of the short-term rental market, it is but one company within the market. These are some categories of places that can be turned into marketplaces:

  • Houses and apartments

  • Storage space

  • Office space

  • Garage space

  • Camping property

In a previous blog I interviewed Michael Rosenbaum, founder and CEO of Spacer.com. After receiving 1 million dollars in funding, he was able to establish the marketplace as Australia’s go to for storage rental. Clearly, a simple idea can turn into a very successful one especially in an industry as hot as real estate. Just come to San Francisco and see how even small spaces are being rented out for $3000.00 and up. If you are seriously thinking about getting rich or at least making a living off of an investment, look no further than this type of marketplace. The key is to find a hole in the market and fill it. Rosenbaum noticed how companies offered storage space but for incredibly high prices so he set out to offer a solution. As the world population increases, people are living in smaller spaces so it’s no surprise that they are seeking out places to store extra goods.

Have you ever planned a vacation and scrolled through Airbnb listings to eventually find the perfect spot in your dream city? We are now very accustomed to having services available to us at the touch of a few buttons. Underneath these easy to use platforms, however, is cutting edge technology that uses SMS messaging. It is important to be able to communicate in real time with people wanting to book a space on your marketplace.

Think about the last time you used an on-demand service. It’s likely that the experience was a lot easier, more convenient and quicker than in the past. For instance, if you were to reserve a Yellow Cab taxi here in San Francisco 5 years ago, you would still go through a taxi dispatch, which seems outdated by today’s standards. Many of us don’t think about the technology that enables on demand services, which is why I wanted to talk about Twilio and how it is enabling marketplaces to have the latest messaging technology.  

Ever wonder how a marketplace functions? A big part of a the success of a marketplace is how it integrates SMS communication technology to allow users to connect with each other across the globe. Twilio is a Cloud Communications Platform for software developers. Near Me uses Twilio to add Messaging, Voice and Video capabilities directly to our customers’ web and mobile applications. This communication technology is available through application programming interfaces (API) and Twilio manages the underlying infrastructure globally.


Here are some key points on why this communication system is important for marketplaces:

  • Attracting and retaining Consumers and Producers

  • Nurturing Trust on the Platform

  • Maximizing service Convenience

What different marketplaces do with communications technology varies. For example, If you had a marketplace for listing or renting storage space, a message would be sent to your marketplace platform informing you that a person listed a space or made a purchase. Some of the transactions will be automated, while others will be directed towards you to oversee.

An idea is a spark that can turn into a long term business, and it looks like Place is the next hot commodity. A big part of being a successful marketplace owner, besides connecting with customers, is partnering up with an IT company to help run your business smoothly and securely. The technology that Near Me continues to build, innovate and perfect will help your vision materialize.  

Have an idea for a "places" marketplace? Leave us a comment below and find out how Near Me can help bring your concept to life. 


Topics: Entrepreneur, Marketplace


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