Who Is Your Customer?

In a double sided marketplace, of which we have many in our portfolio, it is always tricky to figure out who your customer is. Many marketplaces punt on this question and answer with “both”.

I think it’s hard to run a business with two different customers. It can be done but it is hard.

Yesterday, Kickstarter published some year end stats in a beautiful presentation. I would encourage all of you to take a quick spin through them. It will take you between 10 seconds and a few minutes depending if you watch the videos.

Even though Kickstarter served over 3mm project backers last year, they have never been confused who their customer is. Their mission is is “to help bring creative projects to life” (from their about page).

So Kickstarter focuses on the creative project and the project creator. And by doing that, they end up serving millions of people a year who come to Kickstarter to back a project, or two (between 25% and 30% backed more than one project in 2013), or a hundred (almost 1000 people did that in 2013).

So if you can figure out who your customer is and if you focus on them and their needs and serve them well, you can build a large two sided marketplace that can grow and sustain itself. Kickstarter is a great example of how to do that.