AIRTASKER CEO: Building an online marketplace is a lot like building a nightclub

Airtasker CEO Tim Fung.

Online marketplaces are a hot spot for startups at the moment, but they’re not a simple business to establish.

They’re heavily dependent on engaged users and require different kinds – some that will offer a service or a product and some that will buy it.

Investors are looking for the Uber or Airbnb, and in Australia, something like Matt Barrie’s Freelancer.

AirTree, the $60 million venture fund, put $4 million into design crowdsourcing platform DesignCrowd after committing $1.5 million to pet-sitting marketplace PawShake last December.

Pitching at the Start-Up Conference in Sydney today, Airtasker CEO Tim Fung explained his company has built a marketplace by thinking about how they would build a nightclub.

Fung said the two tasks have a lot in common.

“Basically, there are three parts: press, product and people. A lot of entrepreneurs only focus on product and the reality is in a marketplace the people form part of the product so whilst you can sort of sit around trying to tweak the details of the website, a huge part of what makes the experience of the platform awesome is just the people – how many of them there are and just the culture,” Fung said.

“It’s the same thing for a nightclub, you can have the coolest nightclub with the best seats and awesome vodka martinis, but if you don’t have people dancing in there it’s lame. You need lots of people and you need them to be dancing.”

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