This past year has been an exciting one for NapkinBetaBeyond. We’ve developed GetMyBoat’s peer-to-peer boat rental marketplace, helped launch ZigAir’s flightsharing platform, and designed "LEGOBox" – the prototype for a subscription-based LEGO rental service that just earned $6 million in funding as Pleygo. These three projects are evidence of an interesting trend that’s taking hold of the startup space: paralleling.
What exactly do we mean when we say paralleling? We’re referring to the movement that numerous entrepreneurs are embracing of taking the proven business model of well-known startups and applying it to a new service. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Airbnb and Netflix should be blushing, as their models have been the basis for a number of iterations.
GetMyBoat, who has a long-term partnership with NapkinBetaBeyond, has been described as “Airbnb for boats.” Offering users a space to discover and list watercrafts to rent and charter from around the world, the San Francisco-based startup has been gaining momentum as its membership count increases and listings pour in. In fact, with over 10,000 watercrafts listed in over 800+ locations, 2013 has been an exceptional first year for GetMyBoat.
Another NapkinBetaBeyond-developed platform that’s based off the Airbnb model comes from ZigAir. Also headquartered in San Francisco, ZigAir makes private air charter accessible to the ordinary traveler by bringing together charter operators looking to sell individual seats with commuters wanting to skip the usual hassles associated with commercial airlines. “We need to be looking for better ways to make getting from Point A to Point B more efficient and less stressful,” explains ZigAir. “As the commercial airline industry begins to shift in a new direction, the good news is that new opportunities are becoming a reality in private air and general aviation.” With over 175,000 aircrafts listed at 5,000 U.S. airports, this Airbnb homage is certainly capitalizing on those opportunities.
Netflix’s flat rate DVD-rental-by-mail service also served as inspiration for a number of startups. And once again, NapkinBetaBeyond helped in the platform development for a paralleling startup that’s found success in 2013. “LEGOBox”, a prototype designed by NapkinBetaBeyond, has garnered much attention in the form of Pleygo, a Netflix-like rental service for LEGO sets. The company has more than 7,000 users and says that membership is doubling on a monthly basis. Pleygo is backed by Stonehome Capital and recently secured $6 million in additional funding from two more venture capital firms.
2013 has established itself as the year of paralleling. While critics may scoff at this trend, dismissing many iteration startups as rip-offs (though with over 50 Instagram clones on the web today, they may have a point), the marketplace is welcoming them warmly. Users are signing up – as evidenced by the rising membership numbers of GetMyBoat and ZigAir – and investors are signing checks. Seven figure checks in the case of Pleygo. Pleygo also received the blessing of former Netflix chief operating officer Tom Dillon when he joined its board of directors earlier this year, adding another checkmark in the credibility department for the LEGO rental service.
NapkinBetaBeyond is thrilled with the success that GetMyBoat, ZigAir, and Pleygo have had this past year and we’re looking forward to what 2014 has in store for us and for the startup world. Whether you’re looking for someone to help turn your novel idea into a viable business venture, or just looking for a mobile and cloud technology specialist to assist in the development of your paralleling platform, we’re #heretohelp.