Join us for the The Nuts and Bolts of Building a Peer to Peer Internet Marketplace

Next week, I'll be speaking on a panel in San Francisco on building an Internet Marketplace.

Register here:

This is the second event in a series of marketplace panels co-sponsored by and Crosslink Capital. The event will be hosted at Rocket Space – one of the premiere technology incubators/work spaces in the San Francisco Bay Area.  The focus of this panel will be on the "best practices" behind building a peer-to-peer Internet marketplace. The main questions that will be addressed are: 1. Is it better to focus on building one side of a marketplace, rather than both sides at once? 2. How do you earn trust and credibility/prevent fraud in Internet marketplaces? 3. How can entrepreneurs use Internet marketplaces effectively for their own businesses?

  • ·      Gary Swart, CEO of oDesk
  • ·      Matt Mickiewicz, Co-founder of 99designs
  • ·      Bo Fishback, Co-founder and CEO of Zaarly
  • ·      Doug Feirstein, Co-founder of Liveops, Founder/Co-founder, CEO of
  • ·      Steven Cox, Co-founder and CEO of
  • ·      Sunil Rajaraman, Co-founder and CEO of (Moderator)

Gary Swart

Gary is the CEO of oDesk is the world’s largest online workplace, enabling businesses to instantly hire, manage and pay a flexible online workforce.  He has a passion for helping small businesses succeed with more than 18 years of experience in the enterprise software market. Before oDesk, as the VP of Worldwide Sales for Intellibank, he was responsible for building the sales organization, but Gary's enthusiasm for small businesses was born during his tenure as a Business Unit Executive for IBM's Rational Software Product Group, where he led Small and Medium Business sales for the Americas. Gary came to Rational through its merger with Pure Software, where he held sales, management and leadership positions.

Gary holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Maryland.

Matt Mickiewicz 

Matt started his first company, SitePoint, while still in high school, and has leveraged his early success into two additional companies, 99designs and Flippa. 99designs, which has hosted more than 130,000 design contests and paid designers more than $30 million since its founding in 2008, won a 2010 Webby Award and secured $35M in VC funding in 2011. Flippa has helped entrepreneurs sell more than $60 million in websites and domain names. Matt was named to each of the 2011 “30 Under 30” lists published by Forbes, INC. and Business Insider.

Steven Cox

Steven is CEO of TakeLessons, America's largest music lessons marketplace. The company offers in-person physical music lessons in 46 music categories and covers over 3,000 cities across the USA. The company has grown rapidly over the past six years by building a proprietary software services platform that curates only the best service providers, handles all of the billing, scheduling, marketing, sales, and customer support.

Before TakeLessons, Steven was Managing Director of Reddito Partners, a marketplaces and ecommerce strategy consulting firm, and was also VP of Strategic Development for Steven first discovered internet marketplaces when he was an early employee in PurchasePro, one of the first B2B marketplaces that grew from 8 to 800 employees and went IPO in 1999. 

Steven's excitement for marketplaces stems from the belief that, in the near future, more and more people will turn to the Internet when looking for services, and buying services over the Internet will be as common as buying products. 


Bo Fishback

Bo Fishback is the Founder and CEO of Zaarly. Bo was previously the vice president of entrepreneurship for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the president of Kauffman Labs for Enterprise Creation.

He is a founder of Orbis Biosciences, a drug delivery and particle fabrication company whose core intellectual property was developed from research conducted at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Fishback also was a co-founder of Lightspeed Genomics, a next-generation genome sequencing company that was spun out of a research program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and acquired by Macrogen. Beyond these ventures, he has worked with a variety of life sciences and high-tech startup companies as an advisor, board member, and angel investor. Currently, he is on the board of directors for Orbis Biosciences and is an advisor for Plotwatt, Inc.

Doug Feirstein

Doug is the Co-Founder and CEO of is the marketplace for selling used smart phones and electronics to established, trusted companies. The site helps customers find out what their smart phones and electronics are worth, find a buyer, and sell them quickly and safely. uSell is a subsidiary of Upstream Worldwide, Inc., a publicly traded company headquartered in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

Starting from his garage, Doug launched LiveOps and pioneered the movement towards home-shoring. Fast-forward 10 years years later, is now a thriving company, with over $150mm in revenue and 20,000+ agents working from home all over the country. has since been backed by Menlo Ventures, Benchmark Capital, CMEA Ventures and August Capital.

Doug has had the opportunity to invest and be involved with over 20 early stage companies which include:

  • Mojiva – A mobile ad platform that is quickly becoming a leader in the space.
  • Nutrabella – A retail food company in the natural food space that provides pre-natal nutrition to pregnant women around the world.
  • Ignighter – An innovative dating site that allows groups of people to connect and set up dates in a safe, group environment.

Sunil Rajaraman

Sunil Rajaraman is the founder and CEO of, a marketplace for businesses to hire freelance writers. has a pool of 80,000 freelance writers, and ranks as one of the top five largest writer communities on the Internet. currently provides hundreds of businesses with thousands of blog posts, tweets, press releases and articles each month.  

Sunil was the 2008 recipient of the Young President's Organization Scholarship at the UCLA Anderson School of Management and holds a BA in Economics from Claremont McKenna College. Prior to Scripted, Sunil held positions in management consulting and finance. Sunil has guest written blog posts and articles for Gigaom, Paste Magazine, Screencrave and other publications. 

Crosslink Capital

Crosslink Capital is a leading stage-independent venture capital and growth equity firm with over $2 billion in assets.  Crosslink, which traces its roots back to 1989,  was among the first and largest investment firms in the U.S. to integrate public and private growth/technology investing in three families of funds: venture capital funds, long/short hedge funds and a unique hybrid crossover fund. This strategy allows Crosslink to partner with its portfolio companies on a long-term basis. With more than 20 years behind it, Crosslink Capital has invested in over 100 private equity portfolio companies, at the early, mid, and late stages including Pandora (NYSE: P), (NASDAQ: ACOM), Omniture (acquired by Adobe Systems), Equinix(NASDAQ:EQIX),  Carbonite (NASDAQ: CARB), Intematix, SeaMicro, Synapsense, Bleacher Report, Marin Software and DataStax.  For more information on Crosslink, visit

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1 thought on “Join us for the The Nuts and Bolts of Building a Peer to Peer Internet Marketplace”

  1. Would love to know what came out of this talk. These marketplaces can sometimes become very complex, yet most people would agree that they are here to stay. Fraud / quality of work etc are going to remain huge challenges though and the problem is that efforts to tackle these issues often end up throttling growth.

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