How to create a two-sided marketplace like Airbnb

There are many ways you can build a marketplace like the one from Airbnb, TaskRabbit etc. Since marketplaces are notoriously hard to start, its extremely important to test out your ideas quickly before you go and commit to the idea completely.

I have created few marketplaces so by now I have some idea of what kind of softwares and services are out there and how you can test out your idea quickly.

In this post I will talk about a service called Sharetribe, which in my opinion is one of the best in terms of quality and support. It's not a free service but you can still use it to test if your ideas, and if it works out - you will either have the funding to build yourself again or continue to use Sharetribe.

Sharetribe have multiple offerings. As an Engineer you might wanna look at the Sharetribe Flex. Flex gives you full control on your processes and design. It's a marketplace API service which gives you everything you need to build a two-sided marketplace quickly.

Lets see how this works

Start by requesting a test access for the Flex API. You will get an email instantly but it takes about 24 hours before you get an API key in your email. Trust me, it's worth a wait!

Once you have a API key you are all set to start building your front end. Thats when the fun starts, you can use any kind of system or language to work with this API but Sharetribe has created a fully functional Node.js and React based front end to get us started and its open source.

Lets build

Get the source code
git clone

Install and configure
cd flex-template-web/
yarn install
yarn run config

Kick it off
yarn run dev

Thats it, you got yourself something very functional and beautiful. Here is an example - This Canon camera sharing site is build using  Sharetribe Flex.

Two-sided marketplace from Canon


How to Customize FTW | Sharetribe Flex documentation
So you’ve decided to build your own marketplace using Flex Template for Web (FTW). That’s awesome! This guide will help you in setting up your fork and describes the general workflow.
Sharetribe Flex Template for Web. Contribute to sharetribe/flex-template-web development by creating an account on GitHub.

There are no limits. Make Something People Want! (motto of Y Combinator)

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