Multi-sided Platforms in the Sharing Economy - a Case Study Analysis for the Development of a Generic Platform
In the digitization era, multi-sided platforms (MSPs) have evolved to powerful business models. Companies from the Sharing Economy (SE) use such business models to act as intermediaries between suppliers and customers through implementing specific functionalities on their platforms. This paper uses a case study methodology and analyzes the platform functionalities of five companies: Airbnb, Uber, Couchsurfing, BlaBlaCar and TaskRabbit. The analysis shows that these companies exhibit similarities and differences in the design of their platform functionalities. Subsequently, the results obtained here are used to elaborate a generic concept for the design of digital platforms in this field. The identified functional areas are: tendering, search for offers, booking of services and associated fees, rating systems and safety, as well as trust functions. As such, the paper contributes to the scientific discussion in the field of platform-based business model design in the SE.