Advice for building two-sided marketplaces?

I'm building a virtual clinic where people with disabilities and their families can connect to licensed healthcare practitioners (behavior analysts, feeding experts, psychiatrists, etc.) from anywhere.

I have a bit of a "chicken or the egg" problem. My current logic is to recruit one or two practitioners upfront (supply) before onboarding patients (demand). This way, I'm able to provide new patients with value immediately after they sign up, rather than promising access to practitioners in the future. But I worry about the practitioners getting frustrated with the lack of business during their first few weeks on the platform.

  • Am I thinking about this correctly?
  • Which fatal flaws do I need to avoid when building a two-sided marketplace?
  • Are there any articles or resources on this topic that I should be reading?


  1. 2

    Hi Anthony,

    Check out this article (actually 8 parts) - on the chicken and egg problem.

    Good luck!

    1. 2

      Just finished part I of this series. So much valuable info — thank you for sharing!

  2. 1

    Happy to see start ups in health care space.

    @dqmonn is your go to guy for marketplace help.

    1. 1

      Appreciate the shout :) I have a semi regular log of new findings at twosided.substack.com or you can book a call about it with me, if you'd like https://mentorcruise.com/sessions/how-to-build-a-marketplace-dominic-monn/book/387/

      I'll get back to your questions here in a minute, on the road atm

      1. 1

        I'm back :)

        My post on this exact issue here: https://twosided.substack.com/p/how-to-overcome-the-chicken-and-egg

        Treat it as a one-sided problem first.

        Usually in this scenario, there is one side of the marketplace that has a higher pull than others. What side is easier for you to get? Patients because they need quick and easier help, or practitioners because it's easier for them to talk to patients on the road / at the moment from home?

        I have no idea to be honest, but I think it makes more sense to me that patients want online / quick help, so see whether you can even get one practitioner onboard, maybe you have a friend who can help? Then treat it as "get help from a licensed practitioner for $xx", instead of a marketplace.

        Hope that helps.

  3. 1

    I think your thoughts on hiring a couple of practitioners upfront is pretty solid. One of the best ways to break the chicken and egg problem is to control one part of the two-sided marketplace entirely.

    Having said that, I would suggest that you start collecting potential customers on the other side before you hire them. I would:

    • Maybe build a landing page that markets the concept and ask people to sign up for early access. I know it sort of sounds crass when you are catering to the disabled, but you can word it better.
    • You can also start by writing a newsletter that covers good topics on this and gather subscribers. Beg a few practitioners to write a couple of posts, get a few on podcasts, AMAs, etc.
    • Start putting some of these quality pieces on social media (typically, I would say Twitter, but maybe your customers are active elsewhere) and build a following there too.

    Keep a target on the followers, subscribers, etc. When you hit it, hire the practitioners and hopefully, then the momentum can build on one-another.

    [EDIT] Didn't read the fatal flaws bit. One fatal flaw to avoid would be to build a product before you get any business moving. Build any tech only when manual processes are a problem.

    Articles - I am sure you will find plenty. But I would rather focus on executing the above and instead read on specific problems you face while executing them.

    Hope this helps :)

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