Posted May 18, 2018

When it comes to B2B2C business models — which combine both business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) — who really “owns” the customer? That question might not matter as much in more symbiotic, mutually beneficial marketplaces and other platform contexts, but can be a problem in other contexts or if not done right. For example, if it gives entrepreneurs the illusion that they don’t have to work to acquire customers, invest in direct sales, or provides a (false) sense of optionality for a second product/ business that “will work later someday”.

General partners Alex Rampell (who among other things co-founded TrialPay and Affirm) and Martin Casado (who was formerly CTO and cofounder of Nicira, and then SVP and GM of VMWare’s networking and security business unit) draw on their backgrounds on both the consumer and enterprise side of B2B2C to share lessons learned in this episode of the 16z Podcast (in conversation with Sonal Chokshi). In enterprise settings, expanding the sale is one of the biggest drivers of growth, and there are broader ecosystem partners and considerations at play. But more broadly, we discuss how one could think about “channel” — a.k.a. the route to market for distributing product to customers — as well as if, when, and how to build more than one product in a startup.