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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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