BlackCommerce, LLC owns and operates BlackCommerce.com, a Crowdsourcing Marketplace Platform where employers, buyers, and businesses can source products and services from a network of Black professionals, freelancers and businesses. Launched in December 2016, BlackCommerce.com combines industry-leading cloud based applications with the freelancing, outsourcing and crowd sourcing marketplace for talent, services and products from the Black community.
Based upon data collected by Black Demographics in its publication The African American Population Report, by the year 2060 the Black population will increase from 45.7 million to 74.5 million, comprising 17.9% of the total U.S. population. Black consumers, freelancers, and businesses are making gains and upending outdated stereotypes on multiple fronts from education to income/revenue to social media and civic engagement - becoming increasingly affluent, influential and culturally diverse.
From 2000 to 2014, the nation's Black population grew 35% more quickly than the total population. The vitality of Black Consumers, freelancers, and businesses bolstered by an influx of affluent and educated immigrants, is amplifying buying power and expanding influence across a wide spectrum of services and goods in the U.S. mainstream. Digitally enabled and culturally connected, the Black consumer, freelance and business story is now receiving much overdue attention.
BlackCommerce.com seeks to capitalize on this attention by building a community of Black businesses that contract with each other. Using the BlackCommerce.com digital marketplace, selected Buyer and Supplier events, BlackCommerce.com expects to
We have completed the testing phase for the platform and it is fully operational. A number of Web Development companies have begun posting job offers and a number of Freelancers have taken notice. The next milestone for our company is making ourselves known and being adopted by Black Americans. The history of Blacks in America and the current state of the Black community is well documented. In our opinion BlackCommerce.com is uniquely positioned to become a central focus in Black American Business life, and become a profitable enterprise.
*Black America represents $1.1 trillion in collective buying power by 2015, increasing to about $1.3 trillion by 2017.
BlackCommerce.com is a Digital Marketplace Platform that provides the mechanism for Black America to pool and aggregate resources by connecting consumers, businesses, freelancers, professionals, mobility, network, and innovation in a way that facilitates wealth within Black America.
Convertible Promissory Notes
A Debt Security that converts into BlackCommerce LLC Membership Units
Maximum Number of Convertible Promissory Notes Available For Sale | 1,070
Price Per Convertible Promissory Note | $100
Minimum Amount To Be Raised | $1,000
Conversion to Equity | When the company raises $5,000,000 in Qualified Equity Financing
Maturity Date | 08/31/2020
Valuation Cap | $14,000,000
Discount Rate | 50%
Annual Interest Rate | 9%
Goodwin is EVP, head of innovation at Zenith Media and the co-founder of the Interesting People in Interesting Times event series and podcast.
Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate. Something interesting is happening.
Since the Industrial Revolution, the world has developed complex supply chains, from designers to manufacturers, from distributors to importers, wholesalers and retailers, it’s what allowed billions of products to be made, shipped, bought and enjoyed in all corners of the world. In recent times the power of the Internet, especially the mobile phone, has unleashed a movement that’s rapidly destroying these layers and moving power to new places.
The Internet is the most powerful mechanism we can imagine to match perfectly individuals that need something, and people with something to offer. The moment started slowly by reducing complexity and removing the middle layer in the late 1990s. From insurance to early PC makers like Dell to travel agents, this time seemed to be an age where “direct” became a desirable moniker. This time seemed to favor scale and efficiency over service or brand, for commodities like insurance cover or processing power, the overheads of sales, marketing and retail footprint were stripped away.
By 2015 things changed. The balance of power between the different service layers is a jostle for control. Price-comparison sites first seemed to provide welcome traffic to airlines before airlines tried and failed to starve them of their business and promoted their own apps and websites as the preferred route. But it was too late. Services like Ocado once offered a symbiotic relationship with supermarkets, yet now supermarkets fear the power that such companies get when they get closer to the customer. In this age, the customer interface is everything. There are two approaches.
Full Stack Companies
Full stack companies like Tesla, Warby Parker, BuzzFeed, Nest or Harry’s seek to ensure control by owning all layers. From R&D to marketing, from distribution to sales, these companies do it all. It’s a great way to keep profit in the family, yet it’s harder to scale and build.
The Interface Owners
The new breed of companies are the fastest-growing in history. Uber, Instacart, Alibaba, Airbnb, Seamless, Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook, Google: These companies are indescribably thin layers that sit on top of vast supply systems (where the costs are) and interface with a huge number of people (where the money is). There is no better business to be in. The New York Times needs to write, fact check, buy paper, print and distribute newspapers to get their ad money. Facebook provides a platform for us to write our own content, and Twitter monetizes the front page of newspapers, which happens to now be the Twitter feed.
Currier is a co-founder and partner of NFX Guild, an early-stage fund with a three-month program for marketplace and network businesses
Most people didn’t notice last month when a 35-person company in San Francisco called HoneyBook announced a $22 million Series B*.
What was unusual about the deal is that nearly all the best-known Silicon Valley VCs competed for it. That’s because HoneyBook is a prime example of an important new category of digital company that combines the best elements of networks like Facebook with marketplaces like Airbnb — what we call a market network.
Market networks will produce a new class of unicorn companies and impact how millions of service professionals will work and earn their living.
“Marketplaces” provide transactions among multiple buyers and multiple sellers — like eBay, Etsy, Uber and LendingClub.
“Networks” provide profiles that project a person’s identity, then lets them communicate in a 360-degree pattern with other people in the network. Think Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
What’s unique about market networks is that they:
An example will help: Let’s go back to HoneyBook, a market network for the events industry.
An event planner builds a profile on HoneyBook.com. That profile serves as her professional home on the web. She uses the HoneyBook SaaS workflow to send self-branded proposals to clients and sign contracts digitally.
She then connects to that project the other professionals she works with, like florists and photographers. They also get profiles on HoneyBook, and everyone can team up to service a client, send each other proposals, sign contracts and get paid by everyone else.
This many-to-many transaction pattern is key. HoneyBook is an N-sided marketplace — transactions happen in a 360-degree pattern like a network. That makes HoneyBook both a marketplace and network.
A market network often starts by enhancing a network of professionals that exists offline. Many of them have been transacting with each other for years using fax, checks, overnight packages and phone calls.
By moving these connections and transactions into software, a market network makes it significantly easier for professionals to operate their businesses and clients to get better service.
We’ve Seen This Before
AngelList is also a market network*. I don’t know if it was the first, but Naval Ravikant and Babak Nivi deserve a lot of credit for pioneering the model in 2010.
On AngelList, the pattern is similar. The startup CEO can complete her fundraising paperwork through the AngelList SaaS workflow, and everyone in the network can share deals, hire employees and find customers in a 360-degree pattern.
Joist is another good example. Based in Toronto, it provides a market network for the home remodel and construction industry. Houzz is also in that space, with broader reach and a different approach*. DotLoop in Cincinnati shows the same pattern for the residential real estate brokerage industry.
Looking at AngelList, Joist, Houzz, DotLoop and HoneyBook, the market network pattern is visible.
I. Market networks target more complex services. In the last six years, the tech industry has obsessed over on-demand labor marketplaces for quick transactions of simple services. Companies like Uber, Mechanical Turk, Thumbtack, Luxe and many others make it efficient to buy simple services whose quality is judged objectively. Their success is based on commodifying the people on both sides of the marketplace.
However, the highest value services — like event planning and home remodeling — are neither simple nor objectively judged. They are more involved and longer term. Market networks are designed for these types of services.
II. People matter. With complex services, each client is unique, and the professional they get matters. Would you hand over your wedding to just anyone? Or your home remodel? The people on both sides of those equations are not interchangeable like they are with Lyft or Uber. Each person brings unique opinions, expertise and relationships to the transaction. A market network is designed to acknowledge that as a core tenet — and provide a solution.
III. Collaboration happens around a project. For most complex services, multiple professionals collaborate among themselves — and with a client — over a period of time. The SaaS at the center of market networks focuses the action on a project that can take days or years to complete.
IV. Market networks help build long-term relationships. Market networks bring a career’s worth of professional connections online and make them more useful. For years, social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook have helped build long-term relationships. However, until market networks, they hadn’t been used for commerce and transactions.
V. Referrals flow freely. In these industries, referrals are gold, for both the client and the service professional. The market network software is designed to make referrals simple and more frequent.
VI. Market networks increase transaction velocity and satisfaction. By putting the network of professionals and clients into software, the market network increases transaction velocity for everyone. It increases the close rate on proposals and expedites payment. The software also increases customer satisfaction scores, reduces miscommunication and makes the work pleasing and beautiful. Never underestimate pleasing and beautiful.
Social Network Were The Last 10 Years. Market Networks Will Be The Next 10.
First we had communication networks, like telephones and email. Then we had social networks, like Facebook and LinkedIn. Now we have market networks, like HoneyBook, AngelList, Houzz, DotLoop and Joist.
You can imagine a market network for every industry where professionals are not interchangeable: law, travel, real estate, media production, architecture, investment banking, personal finance, construction, management consulting and more. Each market network will have different attributes that make it work in each vertical, but the principles will remain the same.
Over time, nearly all independent professionals and their clients will conduct business through the market network of their industry. We’re just seeing the beginning of it now.
Market networks will have a massive positive impact on how millions of people work and live, and how hundreds of millions of people buy better services.
I hope more entrepreneurs will set their sights on building these businesses. It’s time. They are hard products to get right, but the payoff is potentially massive.
* Disclosure: [James Currier] is an adviser and/or investor in HoneyBook, Houzz and AngelList.
According to the IBISWorld Research Report, this industry provides access to temporary employees through an online network. These employees typically complete work through the internet, working on a project-by-project basis. Industry customers crowdsource labor when it is too costly to employ full-time or part-time workers to complete the projects.
The Crowdsourcing Service Providers industry is composed of companies that operate crowdsourcing platforms. Industry operators provide access to temporary employees, typically through an online network. These employees work on a project-by-project basis, either online or in person. Unlike traditional outsourcing companies, industry operators do not directly employ crowdsourced workers. Instead, industry operators simply provide a platform for businesses and workers to communicate and collaborate on projects. In general, crowdsourcing service providers intend to provide businesses with easier access to individuals with skills that their other employees may lack, making it easier to tackle business problems without hiring a full employee. Crowdsourcing companies generate revenue by taking a percentage of fees that businesses pay for crowdsourced projects.
Since its emergence, the industry has experienced explosive growth, a trend that has continued over the past five years despite the recession. The growing prevalence of online services has driven industry growth, because workers can more easily complete tasks from remote locations. Indeed, the number of mobile internet connections increased at an annualized rate of 14.6% over the past five years, while the percentage of services conducted online increased 3.5% during the period. These growth figures have stabilized and decelerated from extraordinarily high rates over the past five years, which has shaped the industry’s growth trend over the five years to 2016. Crowdsourcing service operators are still experiencing sizeable growth, but as the industry has matured and online service growth has slowed, so has revenue expansion. The industry began the period with incredible 57.1% growth in 2012. High revenue growth and profit margins have enticed massive amounts of new industry entrants. Some new companies staked a claim in previously untapped service markets, like crowdsourced translation. As the period has gone on, the growing number of companies has intensifying competition and previously uncharted service segments, such as translation, have matured and even begun to saturate, even as businesses increasingly accept crowdsourcing as a viable means of temporary hiring. As a result, revenue growth has slowed and IBISWorld anticipates industry revenue to grow at an annualized rate of 45.5% to $1.2 billion over the five years to 2016. Revenue is expected to increase 34.9% in 2016 as the industry matures and growth moderates. These growth trends bode extremely well for BlackCommerce LLC as it establishes its brand in the marketplace.
The Crowdsourcing Service Providers industry is projected to continue to expand over the five years to 2021, albeit at a slower rate than the previous five years. Crowdsourcing platforms will mature, resulting in more stable and slower growth. Similar to the previous five years, the growing prevalence of internet technology and online services will drive demand for crowdsourced services, such as software development, market research and product design. Mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, will further eliminate geographic barriers, allowing businesses to crowdsource services to specialists across the world. Non-permanent workforce such as freelancers have grown from 17 to 36 percent of the U.S. work force over the past 25 years and are expected to comprise 43 percent of the work force by 2020. Additionally, as businesses increasingly accept crowdsourcing as a viable alternative to workforce expansion, demand will rise. Nevertheless, the industry will face rising internal competition due to a surge of new entrants during the previous five years. Many of these companies offer similar services, and industry operators will have to compete to attract consistent demand in the coming years. As competition intensifies, revenue growth is projected to gradually slow down. Therefore, in the five years to 2021, IBISWorld forecasts that industry revenue will increase at an annualized rate of 15.2% to $2.4 billion
Industry operators generate revenue through charging fees to downstream businesses. The 2015 Crowdfunding Industry Report, produced byMassolution / Crowdsourcing.org estimates that 76.0% of crowdsourcing service providers charge for each transaction made, while 16.0% of service providers charge based on time spent by workers and 8.0% charge by performance results. Crowdsourcing service providers primarily require sufficient server capacity to provide services. As a result, companies face relatively low operating costs aside from wages. However, as crowdsourcing service providers scale their business, wages’ share of revenue steadily declines. Although wage costs are expected to increase at an annualized rate of 41.8% to $429.1 million in the five years to 2016, IBISWorld estimates that wage costs have fallen from 42.1% of revenue in 2011 to 37.0% in 2016.
Falling wage costs have provided a boost to profit margins, with profit increasing from 7.2% of revenue in 2011 to 8.5% in 2016. Rising profitability and rapid demand growth have attracted a number of new entrants. Venture capital funding has also been abundant for industry operators. According to the report, venture capital companies invested $280.0 million into crowdsourcing service providers in 2011 and have continued to invest over the past five years. Consequently, the number of enterprises is expected to grow an annualized of 34.5% to 921 over the five years to 2016.
Start-up companies, defined as companies with less than $10.0 million in annual revenue, are expected to account for the majority of industry revenue.
Companies in this segment lack the funding to hire large full-time staffs, and crowdsourcing provides a medium for these companies to obtain lower cost labor.
According to the Industry Report generated by Massolution, start-ups primarily use freelance crowdsourcing services. Additionally, start-ups use crowdsourcing services that provide software solutions and knowledge distribution.
The cost effectiveness of crowdsourcing versus hiring full-time employees makes the industry’s offerings very attractive to start-up companies, and this is a trend that is expected to continue moving forward.
In 2016, IBISWorld estimated that start-ups account for about 39.0% of industry revenue.
Small and Medium Enterprises
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are expected to account for 30.0% of industry revenue, with small enterprises accounting for 13.0% and medium enterprises for 17.0%. Companies in this segment generate annual revenue between $10.0 million and $1.0 billion. Small enterprises typically require more distributed knowledge than medium-size enterprises and, conversely, medium enterprises use more open innovation solution services. As companies grow, their need for freelance (or on demand) crowdsourcing work diminishes, as they typically hire full-time staff to take on tasks. However, SMEs value open innovation and distributed knowledge, as they are lower cost forms of research and development. Since crowdsourcing services help businesses lower administrative costs, such as healthcare and insurance expenditures on workers, SMEs are expected to increasingly use crowdsourcing services as the market develops.
Companies that generate more than $1.0 billion in annual revenue make up the smallest share of industry revenue, at an estimated 21.0% in 2016. While large enterprises may use crowdsourcing services for software solutions and knowledge acquisition, the most valuable industry service to large enterprises is open innovation. As companies grow, their administrative processes and systems may become less efficient. Crowdsourcing service providers can help large enterprises analyze complex problems or ideas with fresh eyes, and these services can be extremely valuable to large enterprises. By aiding in the research and development process, large enterprises can benefit greatly with minimal cost. IBISWorld expects large enterprises to continue focusing on open innovation services moving forward.
According to Crowdsourcing.org, the Crowdsourcing Service Providers industry serves a variety of industries. Internet services and media companies account for the largest share of industry demand, at 29.0% and 20.0% respectively. The variety of services that industry companies offer diversifies the markets in which industry participants operate. Additionally, each client’s needs differ depending on their respective industry and markets. For example, a travel and hospitality company may use crowdsourcing services to analyze reviews and to develop guides to areas, and a graphic designer may use crowdsourcing to help develop ideas and concepts. Moving forward, IBISWorld expects the Crowdsourcing Service Providers industry to continue diversifying its client base as product and service awareness increases.
Source: The 2015 Crowdfunding Industry Report, produced by Massolution / Crowdsourcing.org
Our target market segment comprises of buyers and sellers looking to source products and services from the network of Black American Professionals, freelancers and businesses.
In 2015, US Census Bureau estimated 46,282,080 African Americans in the United States meaning that 14.3% of the total American population of 321.4 Million is Black. This includes those who identify as ‘Black Only’ and as ‘Black in combination with another race’. The ‘Black Only’ category by itself totaled 42.6 million African Americans or 13.3% of the total population.
Black-owned businesses in the United States increased 34.5% between 2007 and 2012 totaling 2.6 million Black firms. More than 95% of these businesses are mostly sole proprietorship or partnerships which have no paid employees. About 4 in 10 black-owned businesses (1.1 Million) in 2012 operated in the health care, social assistance; and other services such as repair, maintenance, personal and laundry services sectors.
Administrative Support, waste management, and remediation services made up 11% of Black-owned firms totaling 294,977. Professional, scientific, and technical services was the fourth largest industry making up 8% of Black firms.
Among cities, New York City had the most black-owned businesses, with 250,890 (9.7 percent of all the nation’s black-owned businesses), followed by Atlanta. Among the nation’s 50 most populous cities, black or African American-owned firms as a percentage of all firms was highest in Detroit and Memphis, Tenn., in 2012 (77.0 percent and 56.2 percent, respectively).
Among counties, Cook, Ill. (Chicago), had the most black-owned businesses, with 110,155 accounting for 4.3 percent of all the nation’s black-owned businesses.
While individual Black businesses and professionals have experienced increases in economic level and capacity as noted in the Black Demographics Research, we could not identify a major platform that connects Black businesses with Black professionals. BlackCommerce.com is structured to connect these entities and thereby provide a system to unlock growth opportunities for Black businesses and Black professionals alike. We expect our platform to:
Branding And Marketing
BlackCommerce LLC recognizes that maintaining a well-regarded brand is essential for propagating a strong standing in the Crowdsource Service Providers Industry. We also recognize the history and life-time struggle that is unique to the Black American community. Great Black leaders such as Dr. King, Malcolm X and Frederick Douglas have advocated for Black people owning and supporting Black Businesses. A central theme in our branding and marketing is embracing the legacies passed down by Black leaders by providing a platform that could make their dreams for the Black community become a reality.
We are committed to upholding a positive corporate image and providing a top-quality Market Place Platform. We will also fervently track any direct or indirect competition in the marketplace to ensure it stays on top of cutting-edge industry trends and opportunities. BlackCommerce LLC will strive to meet the following objectives as it accomplishes specific keys to success:
KEYS TO SUCCESS
BlackCommerce LLC is keenly aware that it must consistently analyze the local competitive landscape to accelerate its position in the marketplace. As the Company builds its position and competitive advantages, it will continue to execute a marketing plan that highlights the benefits of its services. Any business that operates with a similar model serves as a direct or indirect competitor. The identified competitors are described below:
Year Founded: 2005
Owner/CEO: Stephanie Kasriel
Headquarters: Mountain View
United States of America
Annual Sales: $136.7 billion (2016)
Freelancing, outsourcing, and crowdsourcing marketplace to hire freelancers and find freelance jobs online. Employers can post their projects and receive competitive bids from freelancers. They can stay updated with its real-time chat, 24/7 support, time tracker, and mobile apps.
→ 20% for the first $500
→ 10% for total billings with a client between $500.01 and $10,000
→ 5% for total billings with a client that exceed $10,000
Year Founded: 2009
Owner/CEO: Matt Barrie
Headquarters: Level 20, World Square
680 George Street
Sydney, New South Wales
Annual Sales: $38.6 million (2015)
Freelancing, outsourcing, and crowdsourcing marketplace to hire freelancers and find freelance jobs online. Employers can post their projects and receive competitive bids from freelancers. They can stay updated with its real-time chat, 24/7 support, time tracker, and mobile apps.
→ Intro $0.99 per month (PM) (18 bids PM)
→ Basic $4.95 PM (50 bids PM)
→ Plus: $9.95 PM (100 bids PM)
→ Professional: 1-month free trial (300 bids PM)
→ Premier: $59.95 PM (1,500 bids PM)
The images presented in this section are computer generated, final product may vary.
• Simple process allowing you to capture valuable information about your service or product and ability to transact
• Automatically & In Real Time Post Opportunities
• Matches users and demand for the users through alerts
• Users are notified and how much they can post or get matched.
• Fully Interactive Messaging System
• Allows users to communicatein group or directly
• Allows users to easily track the status of each message.
• Users to Apply
• Users to post what they need.
• Notifies all users that match the post criteria.
BlackCommerce has everything a user will need to display their services or products. We empower users to gather reviews through email or social sites, answer all customer questions, allow others to favorite and see the past history on their activity page.
We have an extremely efficient way for users to signup. It is a simple 3 step process that allows us to capture valuable information along the way while not bombarding our users with too many questions at first. Our test show a 90% higher sign up rate after implementing the 3 step sign up process.
Users can connect their social media links to their profile. When people are deciding to purchase because sometimes reviews just aren’t enough in some industries.
When is a user posts what they need all matching users can get notified of the opportunity. It allows them to read and submit their offer with a click of a button. Studies show allowing users to get notified by emails about potential opportunities to make money keeps them happy and active!
Each of our users whether they post opportunities or respond to opportunities has their own admin dashboard. This allows them a quick overview of any post they have made or potential opportunities to make money.
The feature that really sets us apart from almost every marketplace is allowing our users to post what they need. This then notifies all users that match the post criteria. In return this will allow users matching to make offers or apply. The users who post has a digest of applicants. They can message reject or hire.
Some businesses want a PDF to upload their menu of services, some product owners want a video to show off their cool items while others want a nice picture to display. No matter which, each item can be uploaded instantly and added to our users profile flawlessly.
Reviews are important! 87% of people say that reviews influence their purchasing decisions. That is why we made it super simple for our users to gather and collect reviews. The platform allows them to send an email asking all their Gmail contacts and Facebook friends to leave them a review.
This messaging box is one steps above the average email inbox. It allows our users to communicate and pay all through their messages. The color coordinated message inbox allows users to easily track status of each message.
When a user decides to make a post and gather applications or bids the post can be publicly seen. Each post looks great if a user decides to share it. This allows other users to apply while we capture all the new users with no additional work.
All users who posts their needs will receive emails of potentials candidates. The email notifications allows our users to find the best candidate or buyer for what they are offering, putting the power back in the buyers hand.
Ad Engine Revenue
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