The valuation of the top 200 unicorns shows that the first three positions are held by service marketplaces. The paradox is that, service marketplaces represent only 8% of the business models adopted by unicorns.
In a previous article, we’ve shown why selling services is not like selling products. In this article, we’ve examined the most recent unicorn ranking, to see which service marketplaces rank highest. First, to understand how service marketplaces are represented, we’ve produced a chart (see below). We’ve then observed a most striking paradox: service marketplaces represent only 8% of the total activity, yet the top 3 unicorns are service marketplaces.
The chart shows how unicorns rank by category: products, services, service marketplaces. Over 70% of unicorns sell products, 21% sell services and 8% are service marketplaces.
What this chart doesn’t show is that Uber and Airbnb hold the first three positions. Let’s focus on the top 10:
The three highest valuations offer services. Transportation and accommodation services are the two sectors invested by service marketplaces. Uber and Didi Chuxing both developed a model in transportation, Airbnb in accommodation.
So, to sum up. The top three unicorns, Uber, Didi Chuxing and Airbnb, are service marketplaces and the model they’ve created inspire many companies. They’ve been around for some time and have defined milestones over the years for those to come. For once (and that’s another paradox), let’s look at the empty half of the glass and rejoice: it needs filling. There’s still room for originality. Nothing’s definite.
At Cocolabs we’re working on the standardization of services. We build custom service marketplaces. Each new project is an opportunity to further our reflection and refine our understanding of what is at stake: human interactions, set in a given time and space dimension.