How TikTok Rose To Worldwide Popularity & How It Makes Money

In just three years after its launch in 2017, TikTok has taken the social media world by storm. With around 1.9 billion lifetime app downloads and about 800 million monthly active users worldwide, TikTok has become the 7th most downloaded mobile app of the decade, from 2010 to 2019. TikTok’s growth was so rapid that incumbent social media company Facebook even launched its own short-video app Lasso in the US in November 2018. However, Lasso was only downloaded by 70,000 US users within four months of its launch in comparison to about 40 million users for TikTok in the same amount of time.  So how did...

How the Eco-Friendly Rival To Google – Ecosia Makes Money

If we were to ask a random group of people to list down the search engines that they’ve used, most would say Google. A few of them, particularly millennials, might even say Bing or Yahoo.  And that’s because Google has had more than 90% market share among search engines for almost two decades now. Even in Dec 2009, when Christian Kroll, founder of Ecosia decided to launch the eco-friendly search engine, Google had more than 90% market share.  So why did he even bother starting another search engine? Well, his desire to build a business that would have a positive social impact on the...

The 8 Business Segments that Drive Swiggy’s Revenue

While Zomato & Swiggy are the leading players in the Indian food delivery industry, the two companies have taken different strategic directions otherwise.  In our blog on Zomato’s business model, we discussed the three key pillars that drive Zomato’s revenue -- Food Delivery, Dining Out & Sustainability. Swiggy, on the other hand, has been expanding its focus from just delivering food to being able to deliver anything. In this blog, we will have a look at the different business segments Swiggy has launched since its founding in 2014 to develop a better understanding of how it makes money, but before we do...

The Three Business Pillars That Drive Zomato’s Revenue

While Zomato was started as simple restaurant listing directory in 2008, the company has come a long long way since then venturing into multiple business segments, making the business more diverse that a Zomato user interacting with the business would think it to be. At the time of writing, Zomato is present in 24 countries & 10000+ cities globally.  In this blog, we will try to demystify Zomato’s business and have a look at the three key pillars that now define its business, but before we do that, let’s dive into the founding story of Zomato to establish better context. How Zomato Started...

How BYJU’s Became India’s Leading K-12 Education app

Most of us have heard about BYJU’s – The Learning App, but not many know that the seeds of the company were initially sown offline by the founder Byju Raveendran. First, he became a teacher who was loved by students for conceptual clarity and then he expanded his operations to build a successful Ed-Tech Company, changing the way students learn.  With over 10 million downloads and a revenue of Rs. 1341 crore in the fiscal year 2019, BYJU’s Learning App has grown to become India’s leading K-12 education app.  In this blog, we will go back in time to learn about the founding...

How Airbnb Disrupted the Hospitality Industry

In 2018, US consumers spent more money on Airbnb than they did on the hotel industry giant Hilton and its subsidiary brands, according to a report by second measure, a company that analyses anonymized debit and credit card purchases. The only company to have made more revenue than Airbnb was Mariott, the world’s largest hotel company, which saw a steep rise in revenue after acquiring Starwood Hotel in 2016.  Source: Second Measure In terms of consumer lodging US market share, Airbnb owns 20 percent of the market, which in itself is huge considering Airbnb is an upstart relative to the established hotel brand...

How Fiverr Makes Money by Reducing Friction for Gig Buyers & Sellers

The expected value of the global gig economy, which is a term used to classify independent contractors/freelancers, is projected to be $455 Billion by 2023.  In 2018, the global gig economy generated $204B in Gross Volume -- with transportation-based services comprising 58% of the value, the asset-sharing sector capturing 30% & the remaining 12% being distributed among professional services & HGIM (Handmade Goods, Household & Miscellaneous Services) Fiverr, which falls under the professional services category of the gig economy, is a two-sided digital marketplace that connects people who are interested in doing gig work (sellers) to people who want to get gig...

How Substack is Empowering Writers to Pursue Independent Publishing

The earliest medium of spreading news & information at a massive scale was the printed newspaper, which was first published weekly in Germany from 1609. In their early days, newspapers were expensive because they were sold directly to consumers -- without ad-based models to support them.  All that changed in 1833 when a news publisher named Benjamin Day invented the now ubiquitous advertising supported publishing model, changing the economics of the newspaper business, for better or for worse. A newspaper that cost 6 cents per issue, an expensive price at the time, now sold for a penny per issue, supported by the advertising...

How Rebel Foods Became the World’s Largest Internet Restaurant Company

In his book Zero to One, Peter Theil, previously co-founder and venture capitalist, argued that the inherently hyper-competitive nature of restaurants makes them a mediocre business.  Here’s what he wrote in Zero to One: “Suppose you want to start a restaurant that serves British food in Palo Alto. “No one else is doing it,” you might reason. “We’ll own the entire market.” But that’s only true if the relevant market is the market for British food specifically. What if the actual market is the Palo Alto restaurant market in general? And what if all the restaurants in nearby towns are part of...

LinkedIn Business Model: Diversified Revenue Generation

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 is a member of what is popularly known as the Paypal mafia. Most of Reid’s smart friends...