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The Next Billion-Dollar Business Idea Could Be Hiding in Plain Sight on a Website You've Probably Used Many Times


"If you look at every one of those links on the homepage of Craigslist I think you’ll see a business..."

Image source: Craigslist

Craigslist has nearly everything, good and bad: jobs, apartments, long-lost lovers, drug dealers and murderers.

And if you're looking to start the next billion-dollar business, you might want to comb through Craigslist's simple blue links for inspiration.

(Image: Craigslist screenshot) (Image: Craigslist screenshot)

Investor Jeremy Levine, of Bessemer Venture Partners, sat down with tech blog Pando on Thursday and shared why he thinks the next big thing is hiding in plain sight on the website most of us use to score cheap furniture:

You look at the homepage of Craigslist, there are 80 links. And each link is to a different category or topic and every one of those links is going to be a really big business. And there are already many of them. So there’s a link for tickets on the front page of Craigslist. That is Stubhub, which is a multibillion [dollar] division of eBay. There’s a link for housing. That is Airbnb, which is a multibillion dollar business. And what [Craigslist] does poorly is, it’s difficult to do anything. And as you splinter these marketplaces off into their own sellers to be so damned efficient, it doesn’t even feel like a marketplace anymore.

And the best example of it is arguably Uber. There is a link on the homepage of Craigslist or within any one city on Craigslist for transportation. I think it’s even auto transportation. So you could actually for fifteen years now arrange for someone to pick you up and take you someplace on Craigslist. But no one did it, I mean a few people did it, but not like we use Uber.

Uber, you don’t even realize — I mean I’m sure all of you know — but it’s a marketplace behind the scenes where lots of drivers are competing to say, like, who’s going to respond first to go pick up that passenger. But to the consumer it’s such a seamless elegant experience that it has grown the market massively. So, literally, if you look at every one of those links on the homepage of Craigslist I think you’ll see a business and many of them will be worth billions of dollars.

The success of Stubhub, Airbnb and Uber all lead to an intriguing question: What element of Craigslist's open, minimalistic marketplace will be harnessed into a disruptive business venture next?

Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter

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