Now Trending: Platform Business Model


Thinking of viable and desirable business idea? Make a crowd-sourcing platform! You can see from the example below that platform is dominating current business landscape and I will explain later why the amount of platform skyrockets these past years.


Market Platforms
(Source: personal data, screenshots from each of the websites)
OLX was previously Tokobagus, a marketplace for second-hand goods with negotiable price.
Tokopedia is a marketplace which accommodates wide range of first-hand sellers. Usually the sellers are not individual but shops.
Qlapa is a marketplace which was made exclusively for handcrafted goods just like Etsy. The sellers are curated to ensure the quality

Learning Platforms
(Source: personal data, screenshots from each of the websites)
IndonesiaX is the first massive open online course (MOOC) platform which cooperates with some universities (Bandung Institute of Technology, University of Indonesia), organizations (Rumah Perubahan), and companies (NetTV, Indonesia Stock Exchange). The course is free and we can obtain certificate if we pass the test.
Lingkaran is an alternative learning platform for students to learn particular skills such as art, craft, branding, entrepreneurship, and public speaking. The class execution is offline in a cafe or co-working space at the weekends.
RuangGuru is a platform to connect private tutor and student. Mostly the tutors teach elementary and high school subjects such as mathematics, physics, and biology. Students can choose tutors based on the reputation and analyses their learning process with integrated application.

Social Platforms
(Source: personal data, screenshots from each of the websites)
Change.Org deals with crucial issue such as politic or environment. Users can create, sign, and share petition which will be sent to stakeholder or related party when it reach the required signatures.
IndoRelawan is a platform for volunteer-seekers (company or organization) and volunteers. From education, health, or technology there is always one that fits our concern.
KitaBisa is a donation platform who has been helping numerous cases. When a mosque in Tolikara, Papua was burned by irresponsible party, the donation reached more than IDR 300 million just after a week.

Content Platforms
(Source: personal data, screenshots from each of the websites)
Hipwee is a website for young urban people to share their interest and thought. Some of the articles are funny while some of them are deep and full of advice. It distinctive feature is the articles almost always structured in list.
Kaskus is the first and biggest Indonesian forum. It was established in 2001 and act as a pioneer for platform business model. Besides content it also has seller forum.
Kompasiana is a forum to share opinion for recent issue. It is managed by Kompas thus Kompasiana bloggers are often invited in their TV program and live event.

Job Platforms
(Source: personal data, screenshots from each of the websites)
Jobstreet facilitates people to search and apply jobs. It has more than 18000 job opportunities which can be applied straight from the website.
Kreavi is a platform for creative enthusiast. At first it acted as a showcase platform but now it facilitates companies to hire freelance designer and holds Kreavi Challenges regularly.
Qerja alters the paradigm that wage is taboo to discuss and complete the platform with rate system and work ethic information. It helps everyone to find a perfect job.

Travel Platform
(Source: personal data, screenshots from each of the websites)
AirBNB invites home owners to rent their unused bedroom or house for travellers around the world so they can get close with the culture. There is still no Indonesian version of AirBNB but we can find some hosts from Indonesia.
Gojek is an innovative motorcycle taxi platform in Indonesia. Order can be made through application but meanwhile only available in big cities.
Traveloka connects us with plenty hotels and airlines so we can compare the most suitable price and time in a single click.


Already have some ideas? Now let's discuss the business model. Usually we choose between two conventional business models, B2B (business to business) or B2C (business to consumer). The example for B2B is advertising company and for B2C is restaurant. Even so in case like printing company, it may serve both individual and wholesale but still in a linear flow. Those business models are called 'pipes' (Choudary, 2013).

Department store is one of the precursors of current platform model. It gathers numerous clothing companies' products in a single store and sells all of them at once to consumer. The store itself does not manufacture any clothing. It merely does marketing and selling. With the development of Web 2.0 (user generated content website) platform business model surges with incredibly diverse fields as I mentioned above. People demand to be networked and it is platform's role to provide infrastructure. Similar with the department store case, for example Tokopedia does not have any company's authentic product. All of the products are from registered sellers.

Different Types of Business Model
(Source: personal illustration)

The characteristic of platform can be seen with the existence of prosumer. The term prosumer was coined by a futurist, Alvin Toffler, in 1984. Prosumer blurs the distinction between consumer and producer because both of them are actively engaged in a platform. For instance in Qerja, a man who reviews a company may searches for another job opportunity. Also he can seek for some tips to apply.

You do not have to be skilful on the field or possess physical capital as producer does. Lingkaran founders and team members did not teach any class until recently. Their main task is to find passionate mentors. In most cases the mentors do not want to be bothered with managerial stuff such as participant registration or reserve a place so it is advantageous for both. While in Traveloka, they do not spend money to buy vehicles or build hotels, but they simplify the reservation process. Platform is important to connect the dots.

The biggest challenge is to balance between consumers' and producers' satisfaction. People read Kompasiana because it is update and offers hundreds articles each days which are crafted by the platform's members. Gojek is preferred because it incorporates myriad drivers. If there is no producer, consumer will leave and vice versa.  A research proves that the most in demand chat application is not one with the most high-tech feature but one who is used by the vast majority of user's friends (Nussbaum, 2015). Both of them must exchange value.

Another challenge is system and interface design. That is why we see so many job advertisements for UI and UX designers. The platform must be easy to access and friendly with different devices. For instance Kaskus needs moderator who monitors all of the posts and make sure they are in accordance with the policy. Besides they assure that the site is interactive and lively with comment, rate, reward, and share mechanism. When users were engaged with the platform, they initiated Kaskuser Gathering to strengthen the community. In the other hand a platform like KitaBisa requires transparency. It provides joint bank account, refund policy, and informs regular update to donors'.

So are you willing to face those challenges? Looking at the growth, I assure that your efforts will be worth it. I hope this post will encourage you to start one. If you are running a platform business, you can post the link in the comment box below.

Choudary, Sangeet Paul. (2013). Why Business Model Fail: Pipes vs. Platforms. Retrieved in December 2015 from
Nussbaum, Bruce. (2013). Creative Intelligence. New York: HarperBusiness.
Toffler, Alvin. (1984). The Third Wave. New York: Bantam Books.

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