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“The essential guide to building an essential marketplace.”

- Tristan Pollock, Co-founder @Storefront, Partner @500 Startups

orDownload Chapters 1-6

Inspired by the success of platforms such as Airbnb, Etsy, or Uber? This book is for you.

1. Learn to build it right, step by step.

None of the marketplaces listed above were built in a day. Each one had to go through the slow process of learning by doing. This book is designed to help give you a head start with your own marketplace idea and avoid the most common pitfalls.

2. Get actionable advice, not lofty theory

A marketplace is not like other businesses. Dealing with a two-sided platform requires specific knowledge and strategies. Built upon the learnings gained from two decades of building marketplaces and interviews with dozens of marketplace entrepreneurs, The Lean Marketplace is filled with actionable tactics and techniques to get your marketplace business off the ground.

3. Based on real case studies

This book distills the secret sauce of the most successful marketplaces. Read how Airbnb got started, how Uber solved their supply problem, or how Etsy built their community.

20 years of experience refined into 16 helpful chapters.

– PHASE I – GETTING STARTED –

1. What you need to know before starting your marketplace business Free chapter!

An introduction to marketplaces. What they are, why they are booming, and why you should build one.

2. How to come up with a great marketplace idea Free chapter!

What are excellent marketplace ideas like? How to come up with one and know if it’s any good.

3. How to choose the right business model Free chapter!

What different business models are available for marketplaces? What model is most suitable for your concept?

4. How to avoid disintermediation Free chapter!

People often try to circumvent marketplace payment systems when it’s time to pay. Learn what to do about this.

5. How to set your commission Free chapter!

How much value should you capture from your marketplace’s transactions? Discover different ways to approach pricing.

6. How to validate your idea before building the platform Free chapter!

Before building your platform, your marketplace idea and business model need to be validated. Learn the best ways to do this.

– PHASE II – BUILDING A PLATFORM –

7. How to build a Minimum Viable Platform

Launching early is critical. Learn about how to build a platform as quickly as possible.

8. How to communicate your value proposition to your users

Your copywriting and design matter more than you might think. Learn how to clearly communicate your value proposition to your users.

9. How to match your customers with the right providers

One of the most important components of a marketplace platform is discovery. How can you be sure your users find the most relevant results?

10. How to design your marketplace’s transaction flow

Your marketplace can only be successful if it facilitates transactions. Learn how to design a smooth transaction flow.

– PHASE III – LAUNCHING AND GROWING THE MARKETPLACE –

11. How to build the initial supply

Your platform is now ready. Before you can invite the customers in, you need to build the initial supply.

12. How to launch your marketplace

It’s time to get your first customers on board. Learn how to find them, and how to make their first experience on your site a success.

13. How to grow your marketplace

Your basic concept is validated and you have an initial user base. The next step is to focus on marketing and growth.

14. How to measure your success: The key marketplace metrics

After you’ve launched, you need to be able to tell whether your marketplace is healthy or not. We introduce the metrics you should follow.

15. How to build trust in your marketplace

Trust is a foundation block of successful marketplaces. Learn how to build trust between your providers and customers.

16. How to turn your marketplace into a community

Most great marketplaces are also a thriving community around the marketplace’s niche. What should you do to build such a community?

“Must read for every marketplace entrepreneur. I’m going to ask everyone in our our team to read this book.”

Bram de Zwart, Co-founder and CEO, 3D Hubs

Download the first six chapters for free!

No magic tricks needed. Just enter your email below and you’ll receive a digital version of the first six chapters for free.

We pinky promise that we won't do anything evil with your information (see our privacy policy).
We'll send you the book and an occasional email with useful stuff related to marketplaces.

Want a hard copy or Kindle version of the book?

What do others say about
The Lean Marketplace?

“Juho and Cristóbal have written a practical in-the-weeds guide on marketplace execution that will prove invaluable for all entrepreneurs looking to start a marketplace. No fluff, just actionable ideas.”

Sangeet Paul Choudary, best-selling author of Platform Revolution and Platform Scale

“Building marketplaces can be hard. The Lean Marketplace is a very useful step-by-step guide to help entrepreneurs think through the challenges and solutions to create the next Uber or Airbnb.”

Boris Wertz, Founder and General Partner @ Version One Ventures

“Reading Juho’s and Cristobal’s advice online before launching our platform helped us save so much time and avoid the most common mistakes. If you’re considering building a marketplace business, read this book first. Seriously.”

Agne Milukaite, Co-founder and CEO, Cycle.land

“Platforms with strong network effects are eating the world. The Lean Marketplace is a practical guide to building your own. I will make it a required reading for our team.”

Mathias Ockenfels, Partner @ Speedinvest X

“I bootstrapped my marketplace business from launch to profitability in 6 months. Reading this book will help you do the same.”

Mike Williams, CEO and Founder, Studiotime

Meet the Authors –
Juho Makkonen & Cristobal Gracia.

Juho Makkonen


Juho Makkonen
has been building online marketplaces since 2008. In 2011, he co-founded Sharetribe, a company that helps people and organizations create their own online marketplace platforms and build successful businesses around them. He currently serves as the CEO of the company. Juho is a long-time advocate of the sharing economy whose writings have appeared in Shareable Magazine and OuiShare Magazine, among others. He lives in Helsinki with his wife and dog.

Follow Juho on Twitter

cristobal gracia


Cristóbal Gracia
built his first peer-to-peer marketplace in 2009. Today, he is a member of the Platform Design Toolkit team, an advisor for marketplace startups, and facilitates lectures, talks and workshops. He is also a member of the global collaborative economy network OuiShare. He lives between Hungary and Spain with his wife and two children.

Follow Cristobal on Twitter

Download the first six chapters for free!

No magic tricks needed. Just enter your email below and you’ll receive a digital version of the first six chapters for free.

We pinky promise that we won't do anything evil with your information (see our privacy policy).
We'll send you the book and an occasional email with useful stuff related to marketplaces.

Want a hard copy or Kindle version of the book?

The Lean Marketplace has been produced by the people behind Sharetribe, the easiest way to start your own online marketplace.

Start your own marketplace