Sharetribe's story

We help founders create online marketplaces. Whether you're one person with a great marketplace idea, a member of an ambitious startup team looking to build the next unicorn, a founder of a cooperative or a non-profit, or an intrapreneur inside a bigger organization exploring the marketplace business model, we are here for you.

Our mission is to democratize platform ownership by making it possible for anyone to build a successful marketplace business.

This is our story.

The origin

Sharetribe founders Antti and Juho started building their first online marketplace back in 2008. After launching several platforms for local communities over the next couple of years, they realized the massive potential of marketplaces. Platforms like Airbnb, Uber, Etsy, and eBay were changing the lives of millions of people by helping them earn while increasing the utilization of idle assets like cars and apartments.

At the same time, Antti and Juho recognized the challenges of the phenomenon. They did not want a handful of monopolies to dominate all global marketplace transactions. Instead, they wanted to see a world where thousands of marketplaces thrived, and their ownership was broadly distributed.

In 2014, Sharetribe set out to realize this vision by launching the first software solution that helped anyone create an online marketplace in a day without coding.

The method

Over the past 15 years, we've seen lots of marketplaces succeed and even more fail. We've learned a lot about what makes a marketplace business work.

In 2015, we launched a blog, Marketplace Academy, to share these hard-won lessons with aspiring marketplace founders so they wouldn't have to make the same mistakes. In 2018, we distilled our most important learnings into a book, The Lean Marketplace, which has since sold over 5,000 copies on Amazon and earned glowing reviews.

Sharetribe has been built upon the principles of The Lean Marketplace method. Its goal is not just to help you launch an online marketplace platform but to build a successful, sustainable business. We'll be your business partner from your first user to millions.

The structure

In 2017, we realized that we didn't want our company to be sold. We felt that, as a backbone for thousands of online marketplaces, Sharetribe is an important part of the internet's infrastructure. It should always remain independent and in the control of responsible stewards.

To ensure this, we transitioned into a steward-ownership structure in 2018. Steward-ownership ensures that Sharetribe will always be controlled by its working team. The company can't be sold or taken public. It will never pay dividends to shareholders. Instead, its profits are a tool for advancing the company’s mission to democratize platform ownership. The structure is similar to the one adopted by the popular outdoor clothing and gear retailer Patagonia in 2022.

Today, Sharetribe is a company owned by a team of 20+ people and 10+ nationalities and funded by its customers from 70+ countries. We have helped thousands of founders to realize their dreams by launching their own online marketplace.

Will you be the next one?

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