Skillshare: How to Build a Marketplace for Online Education

I always like hearing how entrepreneurs have managed to launch marketplace businesses. TechCrunch recently posted this interview with Michael Karnjanaprakorn of Skillshare, a platform for online education, about how they seeded and grew their marketplace.

He described two main phases in a marketplace’s journey:

Phase 1: Seeding

Where you “Roll up your sleeves up and get it done.”

Michael explains how, at Skillshare, they focused on getting teachers onto the platform as they recognised that teachers already had their own student communities who they’d be able to bring along with them. They reached out to their friends and personal contacts and tried to minimise the friction for teachers to get started, including doing non-scalable things like finding them real-world venues for the classes.

The key points from Michael are:

  • Don’t try to do everything. If you can focus on one side of the marketplace and get them to bring in the other side, then do that.
  • Reduce friction and get to liquidity as soon as you possibly can because once you do, powerful network effects then come into play.
  • At this stage, don’t worry if what you’re doing doesn’t scale.

Phase 2: Scaling

The labour-intensive approaches used in the seeding phase tend not to scale, so you then need to transition to building things into the platform to power further growth. Skillshare are currently improving their product to deliver more value to their users and help users create content and resources that, in turn, bring in more users.

Further Reading

Photo by: Emilian Robert Vicol

What Makes a Good Ecommerce 2.0 Startup?

PandoDaily have been running a series of articles lately on 'ecommerce 2.0', featuring video clips from a dinner with the CEOs of some of the top ecommerce startups: Birchbox, Warby Parker, One Kings Lane and Jack Threads. I've rounded up the … [Continue reading]

Our Share of Visits from iPads is up 23% Since Christmas

iPad Share of Visits Up 23% In the month before Christmas, 13.2% of our unique visits came from iPads. In the seven days since Christmas, that has leapt to 16.2%. That's a whopping 23% increase in a matter of weeks. I guess plenty of our … [Continue reading]

Magento E-Commerce Checkout Conversion Rates

Screen Pages, a UK ecommerce agency, publish some great data on their blog. Their latest post is about Magento e-commerce checkout conversion rates. It's interesting for a couple of reasons: It gives some useful benchmark conversion rate … [Continue reading]

Perceived Value vs. True Value: Is There a Difference?

This is a great TED talk: Rory Sutherland makes an entertaining case for thinking more about psychology in the way we design and enhance things (and less about technology). One example: one of the best improvements to the London Underground in ROI … [Continue reading]

Google +1 Recommendations Rolling Out to All Users Today

According to an email I've just received from Google, they are today rolling out Google +1 Recommendations to all users. When you hover over a +1 button, you may now see a popup showing other pages on the site that your friends have recommended … [Continue reading]

What’s a Typical Subscription Commerce Retention Rate?

Retention rates for two subscription commerce companies

What's a typical retention rate for a subscription commerce business? If you're trying to model a potential new subscription box business, or just wondering how profitable an existing business is, retention rate is a key variable. What retention … [Continue reading]

How to do Video SEO

Tom Critchlow

The latest Grovo 'Expert Series' video is an interesting one. Tom Critchlow is an SEO expert and talks through what you need to know about video SEO. (And he's a Brit, too, which makes a nice change!) Here's the video series. There are 13 … [Continue reading]

Comparing Payment Gateways and Merchant Accounts

PaymentBrain logo

Working out how to accept payments online is a pain. What do you need, exactly? Which payment gateway should you choose? How much will it cost? I've set up a few online businesses now, so I think I have a pretty good idea of it all, but I remember … [Continue reading]

How to Build a Successful Startup – an Interview with David Tisch of TechStars

David Tisch

It's 11.38pm as I'm starting to write this, so I'll keep it brief. The latest startup interview from Grovo came out today. It's with David Tisch who runs the TechStars incubator in New York. David sees lots of startups from an early stage, so … [Continue reading]