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McDonald’s Business Model Case Study

McDonald's is ubiquitous. No matter which country or major city you go to, you are bound to find a McDonald's outlet. As of 2020, the company was operating 40,031 outlets worldwide and held the title of 'The World's Largest Restaurant Company'. But what if, I told you, McDonald's is a real estate empire hiding under the guise of a fast-food chain?  In its 2021 Financial Report, the company reported 41.9 billion dollars worth of assets in property & equipment before accounting for depreciation, making it the 6th largest public real estate company in the world even if we were to deduct the...

TikTok Business Model: How TikTok Makes Money

TikTok changed the social landscape in more ways than one. Firstly, TikTok holds the record for being the fastest-growing social media platform ever. Launched in 2016, the app attracted over 3 billion downloads and captured one-third of all social media users in a short span of fewer than four years. To put TikTok's growth into context, it took Facebook & Instagram almost a decade for the same. Secondly, TikTok is one of the rare top social media platforms to emerge out of China. Before it came into the picture, all major social media companies were born in the US. Thirdly,...

LinkedIn Business Model: How LinkedIn Makes Money

In the early days of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman did something he advises all startup founders to do; he went around and discussed the idea of LinkedIn with all the smart people in his network. But when he shared the idea of LinkedIn in his network, 2/3 or more thought Reid was nuts.  And to be clear, Reid’s network included some of the most influential people in Silicon Valley at the time because before starting LinkedIn; Reid was the executive vice president of Paypal, meaning he was a member of what is popularly known as the Paypal mafia. Most of Reid’s smart friends...

YouTube Business Model: How YouTube Makes Money

In November 2006, almost two years after its founding in February 2005, Google acquired YouTube for a then-hefty price of $1.65 billion.  In the 2021 annual report, Google reported that YouTube generated $28.8 billion from advertisements alone in 2021 (Youtube generates revenue through other income streams as well, which we will discuss below), contributing 11.19% to Google’s total 2021 revenue.  Youtube has, undoubtedly, been one of the most remarkable acquisitions in the history of tech. It is the second most popular website in the world after Google. Source: Similar Web  But when it comes to engagement metrics like avg visit duration, pages per visit...

Grammarly Business Model: How Grammarly Makes Money

12 years since being founded in 2009, Grammarly has more than 30 Million daily active users, over 10 Million downloads of its chrome extension, and 50,000+ professional and enterprise clients. And all this for a company that did not raise its first round of funding worth $110 Million until its eighth year of operation. Now, I'm not by any means trying to imply that Grammarly was bootstrapped for the initial 8 years of the startup’s journey — the founders did make some money from selling their first startup (nobody knows how much but more on that later), which was used to self-fund the...

MasterClass Business Model: How MasterClass Makes Money

Among a sea of MOOC giants like Udemy, Udacity & Coursera, MasterClass stands out as an outlier. And the differentiation between these two sets of MOOC companies is mainly due to the following reasons:  1. Unlike Udemy, Udacity & Coursera, which allow thousands of individuals and institutions, basically almost anyone, to offer courses through their platform, MasterClass only features courses from a small number of world-class masters.  2. While Udemy, Udacity & Coursera have a massive library of courses featuring thousands & lakhs of courses, MasterClass only has close to 150+ classes. MasterClass is a business case study worth studying because...

Chess.com Business Model: How Chess.com Makes Money

Chess.com has insane website usage and app download metrics.  According to Similar Web, Chess.com has a global rank of 238 and got 135 million visits in June 2021 at a bounce rate as low as 17.7%, with people visiting 7.7 pages per visit at an average visit duration of 16.37 minutes.  Chess.com's android app has 10 million plus installs. It is impossible to know the iPhone app install numbers because Apple does not publicly disclose them, but Chess.com is arguably the top chess app among Apple loyalists.  When I analyzed Chess.com's web competition, I discovered that its main competitor lags way behind it....

WhatsApp Business Model: How WhatsApp Makes Money

WhatsApp, the product, has had a crazy journey, and I mean that, like literally. Started by two founders who hated advertising and were passionately pro-privacy, WhatsApp ended in the hands of Facebook — the one big tech giant that is least revered for user privacy. While WhatsApp thrived under Facebook, growing from 450 million monthly active users at the time of acquisition in 2014 to over 2 billion monthly active users, the founders ended up leaving Facebook over disagreements on the monetization direction of WhatsApp, with one of them not even sticking around for his shares to vest. In this...

Netflix Business Model: How Netflix Makes Money

Most of us know Netflix as the online streaming company that makes money by selling a monthly subscription pack to its customers to access the content available on its platform. But that's not how Netflix originally started.  The Netflix of today looks nothing like the Netflix of day one. In its 24 years of existence, Netflix's business model underwent four significant strategic shifts. In this piece, I will run you through all the four business model changes Netflix went through and explain Netflix's current business model. Why was Netflix started? Before he started Netflix, Reed Hastings, Netflix CEO, was just another...

Swiggy Business Model: How Swiggy Makes Money

India’s food delivery industry is a duopoly, with Zomato & Swiggy controlling most of the market. This duopoly has not only been enriching its position in the food delivery segment but also looking to expand beyond the delivery segment. In our piece on Zomato's business model, we discussed the three key pillars that drive Zomato’s revenue — Food Delivery, Dining Out & Sustainability, and the company’s vision to build new core segments. In this piece, we will look at the different business segments Swiggy has launched since its founding in 2014 to understand Swiggy’s business model better, but before we do...