The API-as-a-marketplace

May 28 13:05 2020 Print This Article

As we’ve been spending time on B2B marketplaces and dev tools/platforms, we’ve come to realize that there’s an interesting sub-category that combines elements of both: the API-as-a-marketplace.

What is an API-as-a-marketplace?

Just like a traditional marketplace, an API-as-a-marketplace has two sides: suppliers and buyers. But, the interface is different. 

In a traditional marketplace, discovery and purchase are done on the application layer. The transaction process is visible to the end user and is essentially a part of the platform’s identity and brand.

In an API-as-a-marketplace, the API is the UX for the transaction; that is, the transaction occurs on the infrastructure layer and is abstracted away from the end user.

Here are two examples from e-commerce use cases – both are V1 portfolio companies:

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Version One VC Blog

Version One is an accelerator for innovative start-ups with a fresh approach to solving important and difficult problems. They invest in category leaders that leverage network effects to build a defensible product. Version One has invested in over 50 internet companies such as Frank and Oak. Angel List, Booster, and more.

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The API-as-a-marketplace

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