Case | HBS Case Collection | June 2016

Airbnb, Etsy, Uber: Growing from One Thousand to One Million Customers

by Thales S. Teixeira and Morgan Brown


By 2016, two-sided online platforms (or marketplaces) were pervasive among the highest growing internet startups around. These marketplaces sought to match suppliers of assets for rent, physical products or services with customers demanding them. Among the most notable two-sided platforms in terms of their tremendous early growth were Airbnb, Etsy and Uber. They offered short-term property rentals, handcrafted goods, and car rides, respectively. As two-sided markets grew to scale, network effects kicked in as more consumers bred more suppliers and vice versa. But how did these platforms ride the second wave of growth? How did they grow from one thousand to one million customers?

Keywords: Airbnb; Etsy; Uber; Growth hacking; two sided markets; digital marketing; Two-Sided Platforms; Marketing; Online Advertising; Service Industry;


Teixeira, Thales S., and Morgan Brown. "Airbnb, Etsy, Uber: Growing from One Thousand to One Million Customers." Harvard Business School Case 516-108, June 2016.