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The Myriad Uses of the Crowdsourcing Business Model

In 2008, ScaleVP wanted to learn more about the crowdsourcing business model and investment opportunities it might provide. We wanted to figure out:

  • How the model works?
  • Where is it best applied?
  • What makes a good crowdsourcing company?
  • Which are the good investment opportunities, eg, what specific companies?

To answer the last question, we needed to know what companies exist. The model was new. Many companies were bootstrapped, so not findable on other VCs’ websites, so we had to find a good way to surface the companies to evaluate them.

Enter the NAICS code (formerly known as SIC codes). We started looking at all service sector codes. A complete list is here ( but we discarded many, like Automotive Transmission Repair, as unlikely for venture returns.

We took the list of likely service sectors and started looking for relevant companies in those markets.

In the end, we found about 200 companies across the 35 sectors listed below. We keep adding to the pool of interesting companies; we added another 50+ companies in 2010 and 2011 so far.

Service Sectors ScaleVP Investigated in Crowdsourcing Research

Aggregated Services/Worker Sourcing
Application and Game Testing
Business Contact Directories
Call Center
Concierge/Virtual Assistant
Cooking Consultant
Crowd Funding
Educational Services
Financial Services
General Business Information
Graphic Design & Media Creation
Management Consulting
Media Production
Media Sharing
Medical Coding & Transcription
Mystery Shopping
Nursing/Medical Advice
Photography & Art
Search/Online Guides
Social Causes
Tasks/Pooling Individual Contributors
Technical Services & Customer Support
Venture Capital
Virtual Juror
Writing & Editing

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