Startup Model Archetypes

The mission of a business model is to precisely describe the function of your startup within the overall market landscape, detailing: business inputs and dependencies, target customer base, and the value being created on behalf of those customers. By using conceptual construct for evaluating a startup, BlueSense is able to understand the function of the business, identify strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities, by comparing the attributes of other similar startups - using a similar structural model.

While there is a growing library of popular models that go by names like ‘Razor and Blades’ and ‘Network Effects Business’ which describes popular models that have been successfully used by other companies, founders like you require a compact and immediately usable framework. 



  • Product – one-time purchase of an artefact

  • Service – manually doing something and charging a fee

  • Trade – Connecting buyers and sellers for commerce



  • Brokerage – providing trade as a service

  • Subscription – productising and semi-automating a service

  • Marketplace – productising trade with a self-service platform

  • Ecosystem – Platform that combines all three (Mature)


i. Product: is focused on the development of a tangible artefact that can be bought and sold for a one-time cost.

ii. Subscription: is a popular blend of a product and a service. The most common examples are software as a service (SaaS) and Content as a Service (CaaS).

iii. Service: provides intangible solutions for customers and clients, where commoditised products are not sufficient. eg. integration, maintenance, or customisation of a popular platform solution.

iv. Brokerage: combines the activities of Trade and Service by trading on behalf of clients, as a service. These businesses typically service consumer-facing brands that focus on marketing and need assistance with more efficient sourcing.

v. Trade: focuses on connecting buyers and sellers. The trader’s primary occupation is sourcing something of value “in the field”, packaging it, and making it readily available to those who desire it.

vi. Marketplace: brings together buyers and sellers for trade, but it does so via a self-service platform which itself is a product. The product could be a physical shopping mall or an online technology platform. The value and the efficacy of the marketplace are affected by Metcalfe’s law (aka Network Effects): the value of the network exponentially increases with every new node on the network.

vii Ecosystem: is the rarest and most difficult archetype to achieve but is the more desirable. All of the synergistic activity helps to entrench the brand as a market leader and adds to the value chain and perceived value of the customer. Typical examples of an ecosystem are the technology platforms (Salesforce CRM, Microsoft, etc) and media platforms (NBC, Facebook, etc).


You’ve found a problem, you’re developing a product/platform to solve it; you’ve mapped out your vision for growth. BlueSense Strategy helps startups like yours build out a concrete vision, develop a mission + map out a real path to attaining pmf + growth for your startup. 


BlueSense Strategy works with you to plan for sustainable startup growth by identifying the issues unique to your startup + developing a plan and making it happen. Our advice is based on a deep understanding of the stages of startup growth from infertile through to maturity and diversification.

Our team of dedicated partners come with lots of experience and expertise to help you realise your market potential. We understand that planning is the bottom line of every successful startup. Our plans in strategising are: listen, understand, evaluate, adapt + invent; simple - but effective!