Mostly metrics
Run the Numbers
The Mindshare Advantage: Marketplace Success With Boris Wertz of Version One Ventures

The Mindshare Advantage: Marketplace Success With Boris Wertz of Version One Ventures

Boris Wertz, the founding partner at Version One Ventures, a VC firm that invests in marketplaces and other startups, joins CJ to discuss the evolution and dynamics of marketplace models. Boris sheds light on his early years as a founder and operator at AbeBooks, and what he learned from selling the platform to Amazon during the dot-com boom. He explains the benefits of focusing on a niche instead of going too broad, how he solved the chicken and egg problem, and what it means to be a long-tail model operator. He and CJ discuss where we are today in the development life cycle of marketplaces and why having the mindshare of the buyer is more important than owning the underlying supply. Hear how the financial profiles of marketplace models differ from typical SaaS models, the importance of understanding where demand and supply match in what Boris refers to as a “hotspot”, and what metric is more important than the take rate and the average selling price. 

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@cjgustafson222 (CJ)

@bwertz (Boris)

Version One Ventures’ Guide to Marketplaces 

(00:00) Preview and Intro

(02:33) Sponsor - NetSuite | Maxio

(06:55) Winning in a Niche and Not Going Too Broad

(09:32) AbeBooks and the Chicken and Egg Problem

(11:22) Data Standardization and Abebooks’ Competitive Moat

(12:37) Buying Your Own Inventory and Doing Things That Don't Scale

(15:01) What It Means to Operate a Long-tail Model 

(17:28) Sponsor - Leapfin | Mercury

(19:27) Having the Mindshare of the Buyer Versus Owning the Supply

(23:35) The Shift From Products to Services in Marketplaces

(29:30) Where We Are Today in the Development Life Cycle of Marketplaces

(31:59) The Main Catalyst Driving the New Wave of Marketplaces

(33:25) Understanding Product Market Fit and Liquidity Ratios

(37:33) Financial Profiles of Marketplace Models Versus Typical SaaS Models

(43:46) The Importance of the Take Rate Metric in Marketplaces

(46:30) Why Frequency of Transactions Trumps Take Rate and Average Selling Price

(49:51) Boris’s Hit Rate in Returns on Early-stage Venture Investing

(50:56) The Most Important Question Boris Asks Pitching Founders

(51:22) Cracking the Chicken and Egg Problem

(53:09) Wrap

Mostly metrics
Run the Numbers
Run the Numbers is a twice-weekly podcast about financial metrics and business models, designed for ambitious people operating tech startups. It's a collection of things host CJ Gustafson (CFO at Partstech and writer of Mostly Metrics) has learned and thought about in the trenches as a tech CFO.
This show is meant to serve as a playbook of sorts for the stuff CJ wishes he knew earlier in his career, both from experience and from copying people smarter than himself.
Topics frequently touch upon Startup SaaS Metrics, Annual Budgeting, Financial Forecasting, Headcount, Equity, Dilution, and Fundraising – and how all of these drive business performance and growth.