a16z’s Marketplace 100:2022

Always interesting to see how a16z views the startup marketplace. This year the changes reflect the pandemic and the cultural impact it has had on everything from shopping to education. Worth reviewing to get a sense of the digital impacts we’ve seen recently.


Here are the highlights from the third edition of the Marketplace 100:

  • Unprecedented turnover shows that early stage marketplaces are as relevant as ever. Nineteen companies “graduated” (versus 10 last year), due to five IPOs, three SPACs, and 11 acquisitions. There were also 37 “freshmen,” 48% more than last year.
  • #1 Instacart’s ascendency in a “winner takes most” category may be hard for the next generation of marketplace giants to replicate — opening up more room at the top!
  • Live shopping app Whatnot had the biggest YoY list jump ever, moving up 73 spots into #26, and contributing to the Collectibles category’s break-out year.
  • Ticketing, Food & Beverage, and Education saw the most new entrants, as a result of a “covid bounceback” where consumers adjusted to a new normal. Vaccine rollouts were particularly closely correlated to recovery in categories like Childcare and Ticketing.
  • For some categories, though, quarantine created lasting habits. In particular, the Games and Shopping/Collectibles categories saw sustained growth, moving beyond previous pre-covid baselines.
  • Bonus: while not included on the Marketplace 100 list, NFT marketplaces exploded in 2021. We looked at all-time marketplace volume for the top NFT marketplaces, with OpenSea leading at $23.5B all-time, per Dapp Radar.