Few places have consistently produced technology that impacts our lives more than Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley gave us the X-ray, video tapes, VCRs, lasers, personal computers and much, much more.
Indeed, listing all of the achievements from this unique area in California would require a separate blog.
Silicon Valley also has the highest concentration of high-tech workers of any metropolitan area, with 285.9 out of every 1,000 private-sector workers.
According to the Federal Bureau of Economic Analysis, the valley’s output, pegged at $275 billion is higher than Finland’s.
The output figures are hardly surprising, given the consistently high level of innovation to emerge from the region.
However, its innovations do not end there. It is also home to some of the most sophisticated marketplaces that are changing the world as we speak.
Marketplaces are broader ecosystems which give customers the choice of which products or services they want to invest in. According to research by Forrester, more than 50% of online sales are made through marketplaces.
That’s why this article is dedicated to the unique contributions and innovations from marketplaces in Silicon Valley. Marketplaces have provided everything from self-driving cars, to food networks and health companies that have become an indispensable part of our lives.
We discuss 5 of the best below.
Turo is the world's largest peer-to-peer car sharing marketplace which allows users to book a car from local hosts across the US, Canada, and the UK. While car-sharing is hardly a new thing, Turo has revolutionized the approach to car-sharing.
Not only can users choose who they want to ride with, they can also choose from over 850 unique makes and models, while hosts earn extra money to offset the costs of car ownership.
In the olden days, car-sharing was mainly used to hitch a ride to work or to get to a destination. Nowadays, it is used to help move home, arrange travel for a luxury holiday, or booking local tours. The marketplace also includes reviews of both the host and rider, which improves safety for all of its users.
The Farmers Business Network (FBN) is a global agtech company that uses technology to help farmers reduce production costs, maximize the value of crops and improve ROI. It facilitates local food production by helping farmers with all aspects of their business, including insurance, crop growth, marketing, financing and purchasing farming products.
It effectively helps entrepreneurs succeed in one of the most important industries in the US.
Carta is an ownership and equity management platform that specializes in capitalization table management and valuation software. It is one of the most sophisticated unicorns in fintech and was valued at around £1.7 billion in 2019. It started as a way for venture-backed companies to manage equity, issue securities, and track their cap tables.
Now it provides appraisals of the fair market value of private companies’ common stock, in order to determine their strike price.
The platform helps investors with everything from providing portfolio analytics to helping VCs distribute their quarterly investor reports.
Gladly is a customer service technology platform that helps businesses aggregate customer data and manage conversations with those clients. Businesses have always been looking for ways to improve the service they offer to customers.
The big difference with Gladly is that they use technology to communicate with customers in the most efficient way.
Bolster is changing the approach to recruitment as we speak. It connects high-growth companies with trusted and flexible executive talent. Now during the time of the coronavirus, helping to source quality talent on a flexible bass, is more important than ever.
The marketplace was co-built and accelerated by SVB Financial Group, the parent of Silicon Valley Bank, as well as the venture studio High Alpha and Bolster’s founding team.
It was initially started to meet a key need for the bank’s technology and life science clients and for venture capital firms filling positions in their portfolio companies.
There are many factors which contribute to the success of these marketplaces in Silicon Valley. Some of these are hardly surprising.
For example, the sheer volume of innovation in the region has attracted a high density of wealthy investors and funding institutions, thereby making it the perfect area to achieve growth.
Marketplaces in this area are also able to take advantage of the business amenities that include reasonably priced conference rooms and hotels, products and services and networking opportunities.
However, while those are certainly contributing factors towards success, the biggest factor is that each and everyone of those marketplaces fill a much-needed gap in the market.
Almost all of these enterprises address food, health, finance or logistics problems - which are sectors that will always be relevant regardless of the political situation.
Not only do these marketplaces help us to solve some of our biggest problems, they all utilize technology and increase the choices available to us in a way that has never been done before.
It really should be no surprise that Silicon Valley has created some of the best marketplaces in the world.
After all, the region is the epicenter of entrepreneurship and home to 13.5% of all global startup deals.
And if the above examples of innovation are anything to go by, then marketplaces in the region will only continue to evolve as time goes on.
It's not so much that marketplaces are solving new problems. The thing that makes the examples in this article stand out is that they have created radical new solutions to solve old, recurring problems and obstacles.
Whether that's making it easier to hitch a ride, facilitating crop production or improving accessibility to business funding, marketplaces are removing much of the guesswork associated with daily life.
Moreover, while it is difficult to predict what the future will be, one thing is certain. Anything that fundamentally changes our approach to old problems and makes life easier is guaranteed to be a success story.
It just so happens that Silicon Valley has consistently been at the epicenter of these success stories since the first computer chip was invented. And thanks to both buyers and sellers now having even greater control over the transaction process, that success looks set to continue.