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Scaling a B2B Marketplace: Mapping the European B2B Marketplace Landscape

Scaling a B2B Marketplace: Mapping the European B2B Marketplace Landscape

Online marketplaces have played a central role in the modern economy, as seen by the rise of multi-billion dollar companies such as AirBnb, Amazon, DeliveryHero, Ebay or Uber. Nowadays, you’d be hard-pressed to not find a marketplace to fulfil almost every need - anyone can get access to almost anything in just a few clicks.

Whilst this may be the case for consumers, the hard truth is that much of the innovation we’ve seen on the business-to-consumer (B2C) side of things has yet to be translated into the world of business-to-business (B2B). Many industries suffer from low transparency and complex supply chains and are dependent on inefficient intermediaries to facilitate transactions. Although it may seem like B2B marketplaces are still in their infancy, we believe that a change is on its way. The next generation of billion-dollar marketplaces will be increasingly focused around these industries and on serving businesses as opposed to end-consumers. We’re already seeing a shift and rapid development within this ecosystem. To put this into numbers, of the European marketplaces we have identified (see mapping below), over 10 of these have raised over €10 million and 4 have raised over €100 million. In total, these marketplaces have raised over €3 billion and this number continues to grow.

At Point Nine and Hokodo, we’ve been enthusiastically following and witnessing the evolution of B2B marketplaces for some time. With that in mind, we have teamed up to provide you with a deep dive into this emerging landscape. While a great deal has been written about the rise of B2B marketplaces, little has been said around the key challenges of retention in the context of B2B relationships. We’ve held a series of in-depth interviews with emerging B2B marketplace founders, including the likes of ManoMano, Cargo.One, BobTrade, Metalshub, Ankorstore, Rentuu, LaserHub, and more, and a specific theme has emerged around the importance of retention. The main question being: how to create enough value to retain business clients on my platform. As a result, we’ve put together some key learnings and insights which we will be sharing over the next few weeks in a series of blogs and our upcoming whitepaper: Scaling a B2B Marketplace: A story of grit and oil. We’ll deep dive into some of the opportunities and challenges that these marketplaces face, paying particular attention to how these marketplaces have gone about baking in retention, building stickiness into their platforms, and ultimately scaling their marketplaces.

Unlike B2C marketplaces which have become a fundamental part of our daily lives, business-to-business marketplaces are only just emerging. Our research has shown that this landscape has grown exponentially over the last few years, with a B2B marketplace dedicated to virtually every type of B2B transaction imaginable. In Europe alone, we have seen an increase from 28 online marketplaces in 2010  to 309 in 2020. Following our research into the space, we’ve put together an overview of the European B2B marketplace landscape across 8 categories, including services, heavy industry and logistics. Our map below highlights that in Europe alone, every major category has at least 15 different competitors - the same can be said for B2B marketplaces across the pond, illustrated in this map of B2B Marketplaces in the United States.

Download Spreadsheet

To get a better view of this landscape, we’ve created a downloadable spreadsheet version of this directory of European B2B marketplaces.  We’ll be continuously updating our map and directory in the months to come, if you feel like we have missed any marketplaces, please feel free to add using the "Add a marketplace" button above.

Before we move on, it’s necessary to highlight that the B2B marketplace industry as a whole is still in its infancy and we are yet to see the same type of success that we've encountered in the B2C world. Stay tuned for our upcoming posts over the next few weeks where we’ll be digging deeper into, and exploring some of the insights shared by those from emerging B2B marketplaces on our quest to see what B2B marketplace success looks like.

In addition to the marketplace map and directory above, we’ll be sharing with you a list of the key resources and readings we stumbled across during our research - keep an eye out for this list! Along with our primary research, these resources will shed light on everything from B2B marketplace go-to-market strategies to marketplace success factors. They helped us shape our learnings and affirm some of our key takeaways. We’ve added a couple of links below to give you something to chew over in the meantime.

Blog: How to Kickstart and Scale a Marketplace Business, Lenny's Newsletter (November 2019), 40 min read

This great blog series by Lenny Rachitsky, former supply growth lead at Airbnb, summarises lessons learned from over a dozen marketplace founders, covering everything from demand generation to supply curation and other key success factors.

Blog: Andrew Chen on Marketplaces, Stripe (August 2019), 20 min read

Andrew Chen, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz shares key considerations, crossroads, and predictions for online marketplaces.

Blog: A Primer on B2B Marketplaces: Challenges and Opportunities, Point Nine Capital (May 2020), 8 min read

In this article, Julia Morrongiello dives into some of the opportunities and challenges that this new generation of marketplaces faces, and shares her view on the future for B2B Marketplaces.

Blog: Four Paths to Marketplace Success, Andreessen Horowitz (February 2020), 8 min read

Following the Marketplace 100, this article reveals that there is more than one way  to build a successful marketplace. Understanding which marketplace model your company falls into is essential to navigating the path to success.

Blog: Roadmap: B2B Marketplaces, Bessemer Ventures (February 2020), 7 min read

In this Roadmap, Bessemer Ventures Partners share their learnings following their B2B Summit  with over 50 founders, discussing emerging trends in B2B commerce and payments.



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