Platform business models are gaining rapid traction in today’s world. As of 2016, the four most valuable companies – Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft – have been using this business model. So do some of the most promising start-ups, including Uber and AirBnB. These providers of multi-sided platforms have a common goal, which is to match producers and consumers in order to create value through their interactions. The evolving ecosystems around a platform business are characterized by network effects among the groups of stakeholders, as each market side is influenced by the other side of the platform. A goal of the platform owner is to create and exploit as many monetization opportunities as possible. As the main revenue source, usually, is based on the interactions on or access to the platform, managing the demand and the supply side is at the core of platform management.
One example of an uprising area of business that leverages a platform business model is crowdfunding platforms. These multi-sided markets try to facilitate the interaction of individuals who seek funding for a specific project, with a crowd of people that is willing to invest in the idea. The idea behind the model has been around for a long time, but due to reduced transaction cost is now available on a global scale. As of November 2016, Kickstarter, one of the most famous players in the business of reward-based crowdfunding, has already raised 2.7 billion USD in total pledges and has funded over 114,000 projects.
This dissertation tries to shed light on the dynamics that are at work in a platform ecosystem by investigating distinct behaviors of platform participants and observing the impact on other stakeholders and the platform ecosystem as a whole. Each of the papers included in this dissertation focuses on a certain participant or dynamic of the platform ecosystem.
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