Implementing business models based on the platform economy

The platform economy has revolutionized the way companies operate and generate value. Platform-based business models have become increasingly popular in a variety of industries, enabling startups to leverage technology and interconnectedness to create digital ecosystems that connect multiple stakeholders, such as suppliers, consumers and collaborators. In this article, we will explore in detail the implementation of business models based on the platform economy and how startups can benefit from this strategy.

What is the platform economy?

The platform economy refers to a business model in which a company acts as a digital intermediary that facilitates the interaction and exchange of goods, services or information among multiple participants on its platform. These digital platforms can vary in scope and nature, from mobile applications and websites to social networks and online marketplaces.

In a business model based on the platform economy, the company creates value by providing a technological infrastructure that allows users to interact and transact with each other. The company can generate revenue through commissions, subscription fees, advertising or other sources, leveraging the activity and number of users on its platform.

Benefits of business models based on the platform economy

Implementing business models based on the platform economy offers a number of benefits for startups. These benefits include:

  1. Scalability and growth: Digital platforms can scale quickly and reach a large number of users in a short time. As more users join the platform, its value and attractiveness increases, which in turn attracts more users and generates a positive growth cycle.
  2. Reducción de costos: Las startups que adoptan modelos de negocio basados en plataformas pueden aprovechar los recursos compartidos y las economías de escala. By providing a common infrastructure for multiple users, operating costs are reduced and efficiency is maximized.
  3. Access to resources and talent: Platforms can facilitate collaboration and interaction among providers, consumers and other stakeholders. This allows startups to access a wide range of resources and talent that can contribute to the company’s growth and innovation.
  4. Data and knowledge generation: Platforms collect valuable data on user interactions and transactions. This data can be used to generate insights and obtain information about users’ needs and preferences. This information can be leveraged to improve product or service offerings, personalize the user experience and make data-driven decisions.
  5. Innovation and agility: Platform-based business models foster innovation and agility by enabling experimentation and open collaboration. Startups can quickly adapt to changes in the market and launch new features or services in response to user needs.

Steps to implement a business model based on the platform economy

Successfully implementing a business model based on the platform economy requires a strategic approach and a clear understanding of user needs and market dynamics. Below are some key steps to consider:

  1. Identify the opportunity: Analyze the market and look for opportunities where a platform-based business model can generate value. Identifies existing problems or frictions in the market that could be solved through a digital platform.
  2. Define the value proposition: Determine what unique value your platform can offer users. What specific benefits will users gain from joining and participating in the platform? This may include access to specialized products or services, time savings, cost reduction or meaningful social interactions.
  3. Understand users: Conduct detailed research on target users and their needs. Identify key user segments and understand their preferences, behaviors and motivations. This will help you design a personalized and engaging user experience.
  4. Define rules and interactions: Establish the rules and interaction mechanisms on your platform. Defines how users can join, interact, transact and share information on the platform. It considers aspects such as trust, security, privacy and moderation.
  5. Develop the technological infrastructure: Build or acquire the necessary technological infrastructure to support your platform. This may include the development of a mobile application, a website or integration with third-party systems. Ensure that the infrastructure is scalable, secure and easy for users to use.
  6. Attract and retain users: Implement marketing and user acquisition strategies to attract early adopters to your platform. Once users join, focus on providing them with an exceptional and ongoing experience to encourage their retention and active participation.
  7. Iterate and improve: Collect data and feedback from users to continuously improve your platform. Analyze key metrics such as user engagement, time spent on the platform and retention rate. It uses this information to make adjustments, add new features and optimize the user experience.

Examples of business models based on platform economy

There are numerous successful examples of business models based on the platform economy in various sectors. Some notable examples include:

  1. Airbnb: Airbnb is a hosting platform that allows people to rent their homes or rooms to travelers. The platform facilitates the connection between hosts and guests, providing a unique hosting experience and generating revenue through commissions on bookings.
  2. Uber: Uber is a transportation platform that connects drivers and passengers through a mobile application. Drivers registered on the platform can offer transportation services to passengers, who can conveniently request a ride and pay through the application.
  3. Etsy: Etsy is an e-commerce platform focused on handmade, vintage and unique items. It allows artisans and independent sellers to showcase and sell their products to a global audience, offering buyers a wide selection of distinctive items.
  4. Kickstarter: Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform that allows entrepreneurs and creators to raise funds for their projects. Users can back projects that interest them and receive rewards in return. Kickstarter acts as an intermediary between creators and backers.

These examples illustrate how digital platforms can connect different user groups and provide value to both suppliers and consumers.

Challenges and important considerations

While implementing a business model based on the platform economy offers numerous benefits, it also presents unique challenges. Some important considerations include:

  1. Trust and security: Platforms must establish robust mechanisms to ensure user trust and security. This may include profile verification, implementation of secure payment systems and dispute resolution.
  2. Regulations and compliance: When operating in certain sectors or regions, platforms may face specific regulations with which they must comply. It is important to understand the applicable laws and regulations and take the necessary steps to comply with them.
  3. Competition and differentiation: The platform economy can become highly competitive, with numerous players attempting to capture the same market. Startups must find ways to differentiate themselves and offer unique value to users to stand out in a competitive environment.
  4. Balance between supply and demand: Platforms must achieve a balance between supply and demand for goods or services on their platform. Ensuring that sufficient suppliers and consumers are available is crucial to user satisfaction and platform success.
  5. Interoperability and standards: In some cases, platforms can benefit from integration with other existing platforms or systems. Interoperability and the use of open standards can facilitate collaboration and integration with third parties.


The implementation of business models based on the platform economy has transformed the way startups operate and create value. These digital platforms offer a wide range of benefits, such as scalability, cost reduction and access to resources and talent. By following strategic steps and considering key challenges and considerations, startups can take full advantage of platform economy-based business models and achieve sustainable growth.

The platform economy will continue to evolve as technology advances and startups discover new ways to connect people and generate value. Those companies that can adapt and take advantage of the opportunities of the platform economy will be well positioned for success in today’s digital world.